In this week’s issue of Nature , two researchers at the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have published a review discussing the diverse contribution microRNA networks exhibit in cancer biology. Lujambio et. al. discuss both the oncogenic and tumor-suppressor roles microRNA have been attributed in the initiation and progression of multiple cancers. Discussion also focuses on microRNA as a driving/initiation factor in tumor biology and provides a thorough review of the dynamic between several microRNA genes and the TP53 tumor suppressor. The mouse model system is highlighted as a very useful tool validating and investigating the in vivo role specific microRNA contribute to tumor development and risk. The review concludes with a discussion concerning the potential roles of RNAi technology and its use as a therapeutic tool in cancer treatment.
The authors present insights into several areas of microRNA cancer research that requires further investigation in the near future, including: the impact of expression variation of several components of the microRNA biogenesis machinery, the direct role of microRNA epigenetic regulation of chromosomal DNA, and designing effective and safe microRNA drug-delivery systems. These three areas are highlighted by the authors as important steps into elucidating the total impact and use of microRNA biology in cancer development and treatment. Undoubtedly, further research in these areas will greatly enhance what is already know about microRNA regulation in cancer biology and may provide novel avenues for drug therapies.
Lujambio, A. and S.W. Lowe, The microcosmos of cancer.
Nature. 482(7385): p. 347-55.