Regulatory role of miRNAs in nasopharyngeal cancer involving PTEN/PI3K/AKT, TGFβ/SMAD, RAS/MAPK, Wnt/β-catenin and pRB-E2F signaling pathways: A review

Cell Biochem Funct. 2024 Mar;42(2):e3945. doi: 10.1002/cbf.3945.


MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small and conserved noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level. These groups of RNAs are crucial in various cellular processes, especially in mediating disease pathogenesis, particularly cancer. The dysregulation of miRNAs was reported in many cancer types, including nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), which is a malignant tumor of the nasopharynx. In this review, miRNAs involvement in crucial signaling pathways associated with NPC such as PTEN/PI3K/AKT, TGFβ/SMAD, RAS/MAPK, Wnt/β-catenin and pRB-E2F was investigated. miRNAs could function as tumor suppressor-miR or onco-miR in NPC profoundly influenced cell cycle, apoptosis, proliferation, migration, and metastasis. This comprehensive review of current literature provided a thorough profile of miRNAs and their interplay with the aforementioned signaling pathways in NPC. Understanding these molecular interactions could remarkably impact the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic strategies for NPC.

Keywords: cancer; disease; microRNA; nasopharyngeal Cancer; onco-mir; tumor suppressor-miR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma / genetics
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma / pathology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • beta Catenin
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • PTEN protein, human
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase