Current best practices and rationalistic perspectives in causation-based prevention, early detection and multidisciplinary treatment of breast and gastric cancer

Gastric & Breast Cancer e-journal
DOI: 10.2122/gbc.2012.0227


The emerging role of miRNAs in translational cancer medicine.

Dimosthenis Ziogas, MD, PhD.

Affiliation: Dimosthenis Ziogas MD, PhD, Dept. of Surgery, University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, 45110 Ioannina, Greece.


Over the last years there has been an explosion in the field of microRNAs (miRNAs) with translational medicine aiming at miRNAs-based development of biomarkers and drugs in cancer. The levels of miRNAs can be measured with high-throughput technologies including arrays-based methods (microarrays, PCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. This monitoring of miRNAs expression can be assessed in paraffin-embedded samples and fresh frozen specimens as well as other biospecimens such as plasma, serum and saliva. Scientific comparative-effectiveness research for large-scale and multiplex measurements of coding and non-coding transcript expression can result in the characterization of the molecular background of cancer. Although the FDA has already approved several mRNA expression signatures as prognostic and predictive tests for breast cancer (MammaPrint, OncotypeDX), critical analyses suggest controversies for the use of these tools in the clinic and the results of underway randomized phase 3 trials should be awaited to drawn conclusions. As a step forward considering these mRNAs-based expression profiling tests, the interest has completely moved to the evaluation of miRNAs monitoring in cancer tissues, blood and circulating cancer cells. Potentially, miRNAs have several inherent advantages over mRNAs with respect to expression profiling. Thus, miRNAs attract now substantial attention in two aspects: first to use miRNAs tests for early detection, prognosis and prediction of drugs response to most cancer types. Second, assessing dysregulation of miRNA expression as a hallmark of cancer paves the way to the development of miRNA antagonists to inhibit over-expressed oncogenic miRNAs and/or to restore the normal expression of tumour suppressive miRNAs.

(Citation: Gastric & Breast Cancer 2012; 11(3): 180-195)



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last update: 10 July 2012