Using microRNAs to understand cancer biology

Invited Comment – by Joanne Weidhaas

MicroRNAs are non-coding RNA species that have a crucial role in growth, development, and cell death and differentiation. Since the initial groundbreaking discovery that these tiny cellular shepherds were aberrantly expressed in cancer, there has been an explosion in the study of microRNAs in cancer risk, development, biology, and outcome. As evidence grows that microRNAs are aberrantly expressed in all cancer types, it is becoming clear that the microRNAs most important in each tissue, and thus each cancer type, are not the same. Identifying the microRNAs relevant for each tumour type is crucial not only for assisting the pathological classifi cation of tumours, but also for defining biological behaviour and ultimately tailoring treatment to each cancer type and each patient with cancer. (read more)

Weidhaas J. (2009) Using microRNAs to understand cancer biology. Lancet Oncol [Epub ahead of print].

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