Failure of conventional as well as target-based therapy against the advanced metastatic cancers is a significant
clinical problem. While some cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, respond poorly to any kind of therapies, tumor relapse is
often observed in many other cancer types after initial therapeutic response. Hence, significant research is being conducted
to understand the mechanisms underlying therapeutic refractoriness of cancer. During the past decade, cancer
stem cell (CSC) hypothesis has gained significant experimental and clinical support, and CSCs have emerged as potentially
useful pharmacologic targets. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of small (~18–25 nucleotides) non-protein encoding
RNAs that are now established as important regulators of gene expression. They can function as tumor promoters
(oncomirs) or suppressors (anti-oncomirs) and thus hold profound implications for cancer therapy. Recent studies have
identified several miRNAs to be differentially expressed in CSCs and established their role in targeting genes and pathways
supporting cancer stemness properties. Here, we discuss these findings and review recent advances in miRNA-based
strategies to exploit therapeutic potential of miRNAs in cancer treatment.
Keywords: Cancer stem cells, cellular mechanisms, MicroRNAs, pancreatic cancer, stemness, therapeutics.
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