Four different types of small RNAs functionally associated with gene silencing have been discovered in animals including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). Experimental evidence suggests that miRNAs regulate the expression of more than 30% of protein-coding genes. These molecules can also act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Expression profiling has revealed characteristic miRNA signatures not only in human cancers but also in serum and blood cells of cancer patients. Numerous human miRNA genes map to chromosomal regions which are susceptible to amplification, deletion or translocation in the process of tumor development. Despite the pivotal role of miRNA in cancer precise mechanisms of action are yet to be elucidated. This review is focused on recent findings related to the emerging field of miRNA serving as novel potential biomarkers in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and possibly, therapies.
Keywords: Small interfering RNA, microRNA, human tumor, diagnostics, Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), cancer diagnosis, prognosis, single polycistronic transcript, polyadenylated, RNAinduced silencing complex (RISC), tumorigenesis, ovarian carcinoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, technology of microarrays, MicroRNAs, Small interfering RNAs, Repeat associated small interfering RNAs, Piwi-interacting RNAs, Messenger RNA, RNA-induced silencing complex, Argonaute, Circulating nucleic ac