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, 24 (25), 2647-2660

Role of microRNAs in the Main Molecular Pathways of Hepatocellular Carcinoma


Role of microRNAs in the Main Molecular Pathways of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Francesco Vasuri et al. World J Gastroenterol.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver malignant neoplasia. HCC is characterized by a poor prognosis. The need to find new molecular markers for its diagnosis and prognosis has led to a progressive increase in the number of scientific studies on this topic. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA that play a role in almost all main cellular pathways. miRNAs are involved in the regulation of expression of the major tumor-related genes in carcinogenesis, acting as oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. The aim of this review was to identify papers published in 2017 investigating the role of miRNAs in HCC tumorigenesis. miRNAs were classified according to their role in the main molecular pathways involved in HCC tumorigenesis: (1) mTOR; (2) Wnt; (3) JAK/STAT; (4) apoptosis; and (5) MAPK. The role of miRNAs in prognosis/response prediction was taken into consideration. Bearing in mind that the analysis of miRNAs in serum and other body fluids would be crucial for clinical management, the role of circulating miRNAs in HCC patients was also investigated. The most represented miRNA-regulated pathway in HCC is mTOR, but apoptosis, Wnt, JAK/STAT or MAPK pathways are also influenced by miRNA expression levels. These miRNAs could thus be used in clinical practice as diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic targets for HCC treatment.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; MicroRNA; Molecular pathway; Prognosis; Review; mTOR.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest related to the submitted manuscript.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Wnt signaling. MicroRNAs deregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and involved in Wnt signaling pathway.
Figure 2
Figure 2
JAK/STAT pathway. MicroRNAs deregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and involved in JSK/STAT pathway.
Figure 3
Figure 3
MAPK cascade. MicroRNAs deregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and involved in MAPK cascade.

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