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Recent progress on the effects of microRNAs and natural products on tumor epithelial–mesenchymal transition

Authors He SJ, Xiang CQ, Zhang Y, Lu XT, Chen HW, Xiong LX

Received 13 April 2017

Accepted for publication 27 May 2017

Published 12 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 3435—3451


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr XuYu Yang

Shu-Jin He,1,2,* Chu-Qi Xiang,1,3,* Yu Zhang,3 Xiang-Tong Lu,1 Hou-Wen Chen,1,4 Li-Xia Xiong1,4

1Department of Pathophysiology, Medical College, Nanchang University, 2Second Clinical Medical College, Nanchang University, 3First Clinical Medical College, Nanchang University, 4Jiangxi Province Key Laboratory of Tumor Pathogenesis and Molecular Pathology, Nanchang, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a biological process of phenotypic transition of epithelial cells that can promote physiological development as well as tissue healing and repair. In recent years, cancer researchers have noted that EMT is closely related to the occurrence and development of tumors. When tumor cells undergo EMT, they can develop enhanced migration and local tissue invasion abilities, which can lead to metastatic growth. Nevertheless, two researches in NATURE deny its necessity in specific tumors and that is discussed in this review. The degree of EMT and the detection of EMT-associated marker molecules can also be used to judge the risk of metastasis and to evaluate patients’ prognosis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding small RNAs, which can inhibit gene expression and protein translation through specific binding with the 3' untranslated region of mRNA. In this review, we summarize the miRNAs that are reported to influence EMT through transcription factors such as ZEB, SNAIL, and TWIST, as well as some natural products that regulate EMT in tumors. Moreover, mutual inhibition occurs between some transcription factors and miRNAs, and these effects appear to occur in a complex regulatory network. Thus, understanding the role of miRNAs in EMT and tumor growth may lead to new treatments for malignancies. Natural products can also be combined with conventional chemotherapy to enhance curative effects.

Keywords: epithelial–mesenchymal transition, miRNA, tumor, natural products, ZEB, SNAIL

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