MicroRNAs in Colorectal Cancer: from Diagnosis to Targeted Therapy


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the major healthcare problems worldwide and its processes of genesis include a sequence of molecular pathways from adenoma to carcinoma. The discovery of microRNAs, a subset of regulatory non-coding RNAs, has added new insights into CRC diagnosis and management. Together with several causes of colorectal neoplasia, aberrant expression of oncomiRs (oncogenic and tumor suppressor miRNAs) in cancer cells was found to be indirectly result in up- or down-regulation of targeted mRNAs specific to tumor promoter or inhibitor genes. The study of miRNAs as CRC biomarkers utilizes expression profiling methods from traditional tissue samples along with newly introduced non-invasive samples of faeces and body fluids. In addition, miRNAs could be employed to predict chemo- and radio-therapy responses and be manipulated in order to alleviate CRC characteristics. The scope of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of scientific literature describing aberrantly expressed miRNAs, and consequently dysregulation of targeted mRNAs alongwith the potential role of miRNAs in CRC diagnosis and prognosis, as well as to summarize the recent findings on miRNA-based manipulation methods with the aim of advancing in anti-CRC therapies.