MicroRNAs in non-small cell lung cancer: Gene regulation, impact on cancer cellular processes, and therapeutic potential

Hannah Petrek, Ai Ming Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Lung cancer remains the most lethal cancer among men and women in the United States and worldwide. The majority of lung cancer cases are classified as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Developing new therapeutics on the basis of better understanding of NSCLC biology is critical to improve the treatment of NSCLC. MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are a superfamily of genome-derived, small noncoding RNAs that govern posttranscriptional gene expression in cells. Functional miRNAs are commonly dysregulated in NSCLC, caused by genomic deletion, methylation, or altered processing, which may lead to the changes of many cancer-related pathways and processes, such as growth and death signaling, metabolism, angiogenesis, cell cycle, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition, as well as sensitivity to current therapies. With the understanding of miRNA biology in NSCLC, there are growing interests in developing new therapeutic strategies, namely restoration of tumor suppressive miRNAs and inhibition of tumor promotive miRNAs, to combat against NSCLC. In this article, we provide an overview on the molecular features of NSCLC and current treatment options with a focus on pharmacotherapy and personalized medicine. By illustrating the roles of miRNAs in the control of NSCLC tumorigenesis and progression, we highlight the latest efforts in assessing miRNA-based therapies in animal models and discuss some critical challenges in developing RNA therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e00528
JournalPharmacology research & perspectives
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Cancer
  • miRNA
  • regulation
  • therapy
  • tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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