Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are frequently dysregulated in cancers and serve as attractive targets for prognostication and therapeutic applications. Besides cancer, the biological functions of miR-149 have been studied in various diseases. This review aims to summarize the reports available in the literature, regarding miR-149 as a molecular target for cancer therapeutics.
Methods: An extensive literature search was conducted using the Pubmed database to sieve out articles related to the roles of miR-149 in carcinogenesis and cancer progression, and potential miRNA-based therapies. A total of 89 publications were selected for inclusion in this review.
Results: Depending on the cancer type, miR-149 can behave either as a tumor suppressor or as an ‘onco-miR' that promotes tumorigenesis and cancer spread, suggesting that this miRNA has diverse functions. Potential miRNA-based therapies include the use of miRNA mimics, miRNA inhibitors, demethylating agents and circular RNAs.
Conclusion: Although targeting miRNA is an attractive anti-cancer strategy, not all cancers can be treated by the same miRNA-based strategy. A comprehensive understanding of miRNA regulatory mechanism is also necessary to improve the design of miRNA-based therapeutics and there is a need for safe and efficient delivery methods when using this approach for anti-cancer treatment.