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MicroRNA Binding-Site Polymorphisms as Potential Biomarkers of Cancer Risk


Identification of people or populations at risk for developing cancer is a key to improved screening programs and earlier detection, with the hope of a commensurate reduction in cancer mortalities. Genetic alterations that change gene expression levels have long been investigated for association with development of cancer. Misregulation of genes through altered interactions is another potential mechanism of oncogenesis. Gene regulation by microRNAs (miRNAs) is a relatively new area of study, and a growing body of evidence suggests that alterations in this process may be associated with increased cancer risk. This can occur through alterations in miRNA levels, interactions with targets, or perhaps more complicated combinations of the two. Here we review the current data for association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in miRNA binding sites and specific cancers. This growing body of literature suggests that these SNPs have a potential role as biomarkers for cancer risk.

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This work was supported by a K08 grant from the NIH (CA124484).

Dr Weidhaas is a founder of a company that has licensed IP from Yale University related to her research, some of which is discussed in this work.

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Correspondence to Dr Joanne B. Weidhaas.

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Blitzblau, R.C., Weidhaas, J.B. MicroRNA Binding-Site Polymorphisms as Potential Biomarkers of Cancer Risk. Mol Diag Ther 14, 335–342 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03256390

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