MicroRNA function and dysregulation in bone tumors: the evidence to date
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Finglas, Dublin, Ireland
Abstract: Micro ribonucleic acids (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA segments that have a role in the regulation of normal cellular development and proliferation including normal osteogenesis. They exert their effects through inhibition of specific target genes at the post-transcriptional level. Many miRNAs have altered expression levels in cancer (either increased or decreased depending on the specific miRNA). Altered miRNA expression profiles have been identified in several malignancies including primary bone tumors such as osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma. It is thought that they may function as tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes and hence when dysregulated contribute to the initiation and progression of malignancy. miRNAs are also thought to have a role in the development of bone metastases in other malignancies. In addition, evidence increasingly suggests that miRNAs may play a part in determining the response to chemotherapy in the treatment of osteosarcoma. These molecules are readily detectable in tissues, both fresh and formalin fixed paraffin embedded and, more recently, in blood. Although there are fewer published studies regarding circulating miRNA profiles, they appear to reflect changes in tissue expression. Thus miRNAs may serve as potential indicators of disease presence but more importantly, may have a role in disease characterization or as potential therapeutic targets. This review gives a brief overview of miRNA biochemistry and explores the evidence to date implicating these small molecules in the pathogenesis of bone tumors.
Keywords: microRNA, primary bone tumor, osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, metastases, cancer
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