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Title: MicroRNAs: Oncogenes, tumor suppressors or master regulators of cancer heterogeneity?
Authors: Voorhoeve, P.M. 
Keywords: Cancer
Tumor suppressor
Issue Date: Jan-2010
Citation: Voorhoeve, P.M. (2010-01). MicroRNAs: Oncogenes, tumor suppressors or master regulators of cancer heterogeneity?. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer 1805 (1) : 72-86. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The realization that microRNAs are intimately linked to cancer pathogenesis has spawned an explosion of research activity in recent years. Their presence is not merely predictive of tumor origin and behavior, they are causally linked to the emergence and development of cancer by acting as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. The understanding of the functional consequences of altered microRNA expression in cancer is progressing rapidly, even though the prediction of microRNA targets is still a hit and miss process. MicroRNAs may not act primarily by strongly reducing the expression of a few prominent cancer-regulatory genes, but by influencing the properties of the network of which these regulators are a central part. By coordinately regulating many genes, microRNAs are exquisitely suited to act as stabilizers of networks and to prevent extreme variations in phenotype due to intrinsic and extrinsic disturbances. Many advanced tumors show defects in microRNA expression and processing, which could increase phenotypic variability within tumors. This allows small subsets of cells with altered characteristics to emerge, which can have grave consequences as typically a small fraction of tumor cells is responsible for metastasis and treatment resistance, and ultimately treatment failure. Investigating microRNAs from the perspective of master regulators of network stability in cancer calls for new experimental approaches and may help to understand causes of cancer heterogeneity and disease progression. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer
ISSN: 0304419X
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2009.09.003
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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