MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are a class of evolutionarily-conserved small, regulatory non-coding RNAs, 19-3 nucleotides in length, that negatively regulate protein coding gene transcripts' expression. miR-146 (146a and 146b) and miR-155 are among the first and most studied miRs for their multiple roles in the control of the innate and adaptive immune processes and for their deregulation and oncogenic role in some tumors. In the present review, we have focused on the recent acquisitions about the key role played by miR-146a, miR-146b and miR-155 in the control of the immune system and in myeloid tumorigenesis. Growing experimental evidence indicates an opposite role of miR-146a with respect to miR-155 in the fine regulation of many steps of the immune response, acting at the level of the various cell types involved in innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. The demonstration that miR-155 overexpression plays a key pathogenic role in some lymphomas and acute myeloid leukemias has led to the development of an antagomir-based approach as a new promising therapeutic strategy.
Keywords: cancer; immunity; miR.