Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs able to regulate gene
expression at multiple levels. They are detected in tissues, blood, and other body fluids with high stability
and have a recognized role in maintaining of tissue homeostasis. Aberrant expression profile of
miRNAs has been observed in several diseases, primarily cancer. As a consequence, the analysis of
miRNA signature has recognized diagnostic and prognostic role in human diseases, and the development
of miRNA-based therapies is currently under investigation.
Recently, emerging but controversial data have revealed the possibility that diet-derived miRNAs
might be transferred from food in living organisms to regulate gene expression. Thus, exogenous dietderived
miRNAs might substantially contribute to the pool of circulating miRNAs to preserve tissue
homeostasis and health status in recipient’s organisms, opening new perspectives for diet in heath and
Objective: This brief review aims at summarizing data concerning the recognized role of miRNAs as
biomarkers, drugs and therapeutic targets in cancer and the detection and the activity of diet-derived
miRNAs in both physiological and pathological conditions.
Conclusion: MiRNAs have emerged as crucial molecules in anticancer therapies and diet-derived
miRNAs might contribute to the pool of circulating miRNAs to preserve, maintain or restore health.