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Dysregulation of MicroRNAs in cancer

Pai-Sheng Chen125, Jen-Liang Su345* and Mien-Chie Hung56*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

2 The Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

3 Graduate Institute of Cancer Biology, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

4 Department of Biotechnology, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan

5 Center for Molecular Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

6 Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

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Journal of Biomedical Science 2012, 19:90  doi:10.1186/1423-0127-19-90

Published: 17 October 2012


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in multiple biological activities as well as disease progression including cancer. Interestingly, miRNAs could act as either tumor suppressors or oncogenes depending on the functions of their targets. Using high-throughput profiling, dysregulation of miRNAs has been widely observed in different stages of cancer, and there is mounting evidence demonstrating several misguided mechanisms that cause miRNA dysregulation. In this review, we summarize the key functions of miRNAs in cancer, especially those affecting tumor metastasis and drug resistance. Moreover, the mechanisms leading to dysregulation of miRNAs, including genomic abnormalities, DNA/histone modifications, transcriptional regulation, abnormal biogenesis, and interaction between miRNAs, are also discussed.

Cancer progression; miRNA biogenesis; miRNA dysregulation