microRNA-mediated regulation of the tumor microenvironment

Cell Cycle. 2013 Oct 15;12(20):3262-71. doi: 10.4161/cc.26087. Epub 2013 Aug 26.


The tumor microenvironment includes cells such as fibroblasts, immune cells, endothelial cells, as well as extracellular matrix (ECM), proteases, and cytokines. Together, these components participate in a complex crosstalk with neoplastic tumor cells that affects growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and have recently emerged as important players involved in regulating multiple aspects of cancer biology and the tumor microenvironment. Differential miRNA expression in both the epithelial and stromal compartments of tumors compared with normal tissue suggests that miRNAs are important drivers of tumorigenesis and metastasis. This review article summarizes our current understanding of the diverse roles of miRNAs involved in tumor microenvironment regulation and underscores the importance of miRNAs within multiple cell types that contribute to the hallmarks of cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs