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MicroRNA and oral cancer: future perspectives

, : MicroRNA and oral cancer: future perspectives. Oral Oncology 44(10): 910-914

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that mediate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level by degrading or repressing target messenger RNAs (mRNA). They are about 22 nucleotides in length and regulate mRNA translation by base pairing to partially complementary sites, predominantly in the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR) of mRNA. In this review, we discuss miRNA biogenesis and function, together with its possible involvement in oral cancer. Despite its great importance in normal cell development and diseases, a small number of studies have attempted to investigate miRNA in oral cancer. Overexpression of oncogenic miRNA may reduce protein products of tumor-suppressor genes. On the other hand, loss of tumor-suppressor miRNA expression may cause elevated levels of oncogenic protein. One or both of these alterations could represent new targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment in the future. Many researchers have focused on genetic and epigenetic alterations in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells. The emergence of miRNA knowledge, and its potential interactive action with such alterations, therefore creates a new understanding of cell transformation.


PMID: 18620891

DOI: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2008.01.002

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