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miRNA: Small Molecules as Potential Novel Biomarkers in Cancer

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Four different types of small RNAs functionally associated with gene silencing have been discovered in animals including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). Experimental evidence suggests that miRNAs regulate the expression of more than 30% of protein-coding genes. These molecules can also act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Expression profiling has revealed characteristic miRNA signatures not only in human cancers but also in serum and blood cells of cancer patients. Numerous human miRNA genes map to chromosomal regions which are susceptible to amplification, deletion or translocation in the process of tumor development. Despite the pivotal role of miRNA in cancer precise mechanisms of action are yet to be elucidated. This review is focused on recent findings related to the emerging field of miRNA serving as novel potential biomarkers in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and possibly, therapies.

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Keywords: Argonaute; Circulating nucleic ac; Messenger RNA; MicroRNAs; Piwi-interacting RNAs; Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs); RNA-induced silencing complex; RNAinduced silencing complex (RISC); Repeat associated small interfering RNAs; Small interfering RNA; Small interfering RNAs; cancer diagnosis; prognosis; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; diagnostics; human tumor; microRNA; ovarian carcinoma; polyadenylated; single polycistronic transcript; technology of microarrays; tumorigenesis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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