Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a serious public health hazard. Polygenes involvement, accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes and immune response of viral vector during gene therapy have resulted in the high mortality rate without marked change. To provide a safeguard for gene therapy and the feasibility for a clinical application, efforts have been focused predominantly upon constructing liver-targeted vector recently. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of short endogenous RNAs, regulate the gene expression at the post-transcriptional level through imperfect base pairing with the 3-untranslated region of target mRNAs. miRNAs, especially the liver-specific miRNA: miR-122, have multiple functions in liver development and abnormal expression of miRNAs could lead to liver diseases. Altered miRNA expressions have been observed in HCCs, viral hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis. The different expression profiles of miRNAs in HCC suggest that miRNAs may serve as either novel potential targets acting directly as oncogenes or therapeutic molecules working as tumor suppressor genes. Moreover, the abundance in general and liver specificity in particular, all together make them attractive to be considered as elements for hepatic specific targeting viral vector. This review describes recent progress in miRNA investigation on liver associated for better understanding the relationship between miRNA and liver cancer in order to raise prospects for therapy.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, gene therapy, microRNA, hepatitis, hepatic fibrosis, tumor suppressor genes, hepatic targeting vector
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