MicroRNAs as growth regulators, their function and biomarker status in colorectal cancer

Oncotarget. 2016 Feb 9;7(6):6476-505. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.6390.


Gene expression is in part regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). This review summarizes the current knowledge of miRNAs in colorectal cancer (CRC); their role as growth regulators, the mechanisms that regulate the miRNAs themselves and the potential of miRNAs as biomarkers. Although thousands of tissue samples and bodily fluids from CRC patients have been investigated for biomarker potential of miRNAs (>160 papers presented in a comprehensive tables), none single miRNA nor miRNA expression signatures are in clinical use for this disease. More than 500 miRNA-target pairs have been identified in CRC and we discuss how these regulatory nodes interconnect and affect signaling pathways in CRC progression.

Keywords: biomarker; colorectal neoplasm; metastasis; miRNA; target gene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs