, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 317-334
Date: 07 Sep 2012

Aberrant microRNA expression and its implications in the pathogenesis of leukemias

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Abstract

Background

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding, endogenous, small RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression by inducing degradation or translational inhibition of target mRNAs. Aberrant expression of miRNAs appears to be a common characteristic of hematological malignancies including leukemias.

Aim

Here we review the available data supporting a role of aberrant expression of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of leukemias including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Conclusions

The expression signatures of miRNAs provide exciting opportunities in the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of leukemia. Since miRNAs can function as either oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes in leukemogenesis, the potential of using these small RNAs as therapeutic targets opens up new opportunities for leukemia therapy by either inhibiting or augmenting their activity.