Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cancer, and the second most common cause of cancer-associated death globally. One of the major reasons for this high rate of mortality is a failure to make an early diagnosis. The average survival in untreated HCC patients is estimated to be approximately three months. The 5-year overall survival rate after radical resection is about 15-40% and within two years, more than two third of patients experience a relapse. To date, the most common biomarker which has been used for the diagnosis of HCC is serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). However, there is a lack of sensitive and specific tumor biomarkers for the early diagnosis of HCC. MicroRNAs are a class of short endogenous RNA with crucial role in many biological activities and cellular pathways and can be found in various tissues and body fluids. The aim of this review was to summarize the results of recent studies investigating miRNAs as novel biomarkers for the early diagnosis and prognostic risk stratification of patients with this type of liver cancer.
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