Small double-strand RNAs have been recognized as master regulators of gene expression.
In contrast to the evolutionary conserved RNA interference machinery, which degrades or inhibits the
translation of target mRNAs, small activating RNA (saRNA) activates the specific gene in a target dependent
manner through a similar mechanism as RNAi. Recently, saRNA mediated expression regulation
of specific genes has been extensively studied in cancer researches. Of particular interest is the
application of the RNA mediated gene activation within colorectal cancer (CRC) development, due to
the high incidence of the CRC. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of saRNA mediated
genetic activation and its underlying mechanisms. Furthermore, we highlight the advantages of
the utilization of saRNAs induced gene expression as an investigating tool in colorectal cancer research.
Finally, the possibility and the challenge of the saRNA application as a potential therapy for
colorectal cancer are addressed.