MicroRNA expression and function in cancer. Trends Mol Med
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs of 19-24 nucleotides in length that downregulate gene expression during various crucial cell processes such as apoptosis, differentiation and development. Recent work supports a role for miRNAs in the initiation and progression of human malignancies. Large high-throughput studies in patients revealed that miRNA profiling have the potential to classify tumors with high accuracy and predict outcome. Functional studies, some of which involve animal models, indicate that miRNAs act as tumor suppressors and oncogenes. Here, we summarize miRNA-profiling studies in human malignancies and examine the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of cancer. We also discuss the implications of these findings for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.