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The p53/microRNA connection in gastrointestinal cancer

Authors Rokavec M, Li H, Jiang L, Hermeking H

Received 13 May 2014

Accepted for publication 27 June 2014

Published 30 September 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 395—413

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CEG.S43738

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Matjaz Rokavec, Huihui Li, Longchang Jiang, Heiko Hermeking

Experimental and Molecular Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany

Abstract: The protein encoded by the TP53 gene is one of the most important suppressors of tumor formation, which is also frequently inactivated in gastrointestinal cancer. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that inhibit translation and/or promote degradation of their target messenger RNAs. In recent years, several miRNAs have been identified as mediators and regulators of p53's tumor suppressing functions. p53 induces expression and/or maturation of several miRNAs, which leads to the repression of critical effector proteins. Furthermore, certain miRNAs regulate the expression and activity of p53 through direct repression of p53 or its regulators. Experimental findings indicate that miRNAs are important components of the p53 network. In addition, the frequent genetic and epigenetic alterations of p53-regulated miRNAs in tumors indicate that they play an important role in cancer initiation and/or progression. Therefore, p53-regulated miRNAs may represent attractive diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers. Moreover, restoration of p53-induced miRNAs results in suppression of tumor growth and metastasis in mouse models of cancer. Thus, miRNA-based therapeutics may represent a feasible strategy for future cancer treatment. Here we summarize the current published state-of-the-art on the role of the p53-miRNA connection in gastrointestinal cancer.

Keywords: p53, microRNA, cancer, gastrointestinal tract

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