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Review
, 18 (3), 244-52

The Role of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer

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Review

The Role of microRNAs in Colorectal Cancer

Aaron J Schetter et al. Cancer J.

Abstract

During the last decade, it has become clear that aberrant microRNA expression has a functional role in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). Specific microRNAs can act as either tumor suppressors or oncogenes depending on the cellular environment in which they are expressed. The expression of microRNAs is reproducibly altered in CRC, and their expression patterns are associated with diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic outcome in CRC. Studies have begun to examine the association of microRNA-related polymorphisms and their association with CRC incidence and prognosis as well as the possibility of using circulating microRNAs or fecal microRNA expression as noninvasive early detection biomarkers. These data suggest that microRNAs may be potential molecular classifiers, early detection biomarkers, and therapeutic targets for CRC. Here, we will review the evidence demonstrating a role of microRNAs in CRC.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: All authors receive funding from Intramural Research Program of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Potential strategies for microRNA-based diagnostics and therapeutics for the detection and management of colon cancer. MicroRNA-related DNA polymorphisms may modify cancer risk. MicroRNAs detected in blood or feces may aid in the early detection of colon cancer. MicroRNA expression levels in tumors may help guide therapeutic decisions and have utility as a therapeutic target through microRNA inhibition or replacement strategies.
Figure 2
Figure 2
MicroRNA-based prognostic and predictive classifiers for colon cancer. (A) High expression of miR-21 is consistently associated with worse prognosis and therapeutic outcome in five colon cancer cohorts from four studies, suggesting miR-21 may have use as a prognostic or predictive classifier. (B) The combination of multiple, validated prognostic classifiers may provide improved risk stratification to help guide therapeutic decisions. ISH = in situ hybridization; qRT-PCR = quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

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