New emerging roles of microRNAs in breast cancer



MicroRNAs constitute a large family of non-coding RNAs, which actively participate in tumorigenesis by regulating a set of mRNAs of distinct signaling pathways. An altered expression of these molecules has been found in different tumorigenic processes of breast cancer, the most common type of cancer in the female population worldwide.


The objective of this review is to discuss how miRNAs become master regulators in breast tumorigenesis.


An integrative review of miRNAs and breast cancer literature from the last 5 years was done on PubMed. We summarize recent works showing that the defects on the biogenesis of miRNAs are associated with different breast cancer characteristics. Then, we show several examples that demonstrate the link between cellular processes regulated by miRNAs and the hallmarks of breast cancer. Finally, we examine the complexity in the regulation of these molecules as they are modulated by other non-coding RNAs and the clinical applications of miRNAs as they could serve as good diagnostic and classification tools.


The information presented in this review is important to encourage new directed studies that consider microRNAs as a good tool to improve the diagnostic and treatment alternatives in breast cancer.

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Breast cancer


Triple-negative breast cancer


Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition


Breast cancer stem cells


Early growth response protein 1


Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1


Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1B


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5a


Phosphatase and tensin homolog


Protein kinase B


Bcl-2-like protein 2


Estrogen receptor alpha


E2F Transcription factor 3


Mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 7


Cyclin-dependent kinase 8


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor


Siah E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1


Induced myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein


Adiponectin receptor 1


Transcriptional repressor GATA binding 1


ADAM metallopeptidase domain 17


uPAR isoform 2


N-Myc interactor


Nephroblastoma overexpressed


Erb-B2 receptor tyrosine kinase 3


Proto-oncogene for Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene


Matrix metallopeptidase 9


C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4


Zinc finger and BTB domain containing 10




Interleukin 8


Chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1


Von Hippel–Lindau tumor suppressor


Human telomerase reverse transcriptase


CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta


Lactate dehydrogenase A


Pyruvate kinase


Estrogen-related receptor gamma


GA-binding protein alpha


Iron–sulfur cluster assembly enzyme


MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence B


Telomeric repeat-binding factor 1


Forkhead box O3


Breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein


Nuclear factor kappa B


Oxidative phosphorylation


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EAMT drafted the manuscript and edited the figures. AGV, JMZ, and VML helped to edit and review the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the article.

Correspondence to Vilma Maldonado.

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Mandujano-Tinoco, E.A., García-Venzor, A., Melendez-Zajgla, J. et al. New emerging roles of microRNAs in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 171, 247–259 (2018).

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  • Cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • miRNA
  • Stem cells