Cancerous miRNAs and their regulation

Xu Bao Shi, Clifford G Tepper, Ralph W deVere White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Although they account for only a very minor fraction of the expressed genome, microRNAs (miRNAs) are pivotal regulators of development and cellular homeostasis through their control of diverse cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, survival, motility and morphogenesis. Accordingly, several miRNAs have been functionally classified as proto-oncogenes or tumor suppressors and are aberrantly expressed in different cancer types. Deregulation (e.g., overexpression or loss of expression) of these so-called "cancerous" miRNAs can figure prominently in tumor initiation and progression by elaborating an inappropriate cellular program promoting uncontrolled proliferation, favoring survival, inhibiting differentiation and/or promoting invasive behavior. These features would certainly promote tumor dissemination and persistence by favoring metastasis and therapy resistance. Cancerous miRNAs therefore represent attractive molecules for exploitation as biomarkers and therapeutic targets. In this review, we highlight recently characterized cancerous miRNAs and the mechanisms through which they contribute to the pathogenesis of human cancers. We also discuss the signal transduction pathways that regulate the expression of these miRNAs with particular attention to several essential transcription factors such as Myc, p53 and the androgen receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1529-1538
Number of pages10
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Androgen receptor
  • c-Myc
  • Cancerous microRNA
  • p53
  • Prostate cancer
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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