MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate the expression of approximately 30% of protein-coding genes. Functions of miRNAs are essential to maintain a steady state of cellular machinery. Dysregulations of miRNAs play pivotal roles in the initiation and progression of malignancies. Abnormal miRNA expressions have been found in a variety of human solid tumors. Furthermore, extracellular miRNAs could circulate in body fluids, and hence show great promise for refining diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. Here we review the progress of analysis of microRNAs as a potential approach for diagnosis and prognosis of solid cancer. We will also discuss obstacles in developing miRNAs as circulating biomarkers.
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