MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression by binding to
the 3´untranslated region of target mRNA, resulting in posttranscriptional gene silencing via mRNA degradation or
translation inhibition. miRNAs are involved in many biological processes including carcinogenesis. They can act as
oncogenes or tumor suppressors and their aberrant expressions are intimately linked with cancer development and
progression. Therefore, miRNAs have been utilized as potential biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, as well as
cancer therapeutic targets. Recently, it has been demonstrated that dietary and natural chemopreventive agents exert their
anticancer activities through the regulation of one or more miRNAs. In addition to expounding the latest findings of
miRNAs in cancer, this review also discusses the recent efforts on the translational research of miRNAs, with an emphasis
on natural products in the treatment of cancer.
Keywords: Biomarker, cancer diagnosis, cancer prognosis, cancer therapy, chemoprevention, epigenetics, microRNA, natural
product, oncogene, tumor suppressor gene.
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