Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that eliminates unwanted proteins out of
the cell and increases cell survival. However, dysfunctional autophagy is associated with cancer progression,
cellular adaptation, cancer metastasis and makes it an attractive therapeutic target. MicroRNAs
(miRNAs) are small single-stranded non-coding RNA molecules that usually bind to 3’UTR of
mRNAs. This interaction eventually inhibits protein synthesis by repressing translation and/or by degrading
mRNAs. miRNAs play a crucial role in the regulation of autophagy and also behave as both
tumor suppressors and promoters in colorectal cancer. This paper defines an overall molecular view of
how miRNAs regulate the dual role of autophagy in colorectal cancer. It also highlights how long noncoding
RNAs modulate miRNAs expression to regulate autophagy in colorectal cancer. Thus, targeting
autophagy by miRNAs seems to be a potential therapeutic strategy for colorectal cancer.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer, microRNA, autophagy, non-coding RNA, tumor suppressor, tumor promoter.
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