Tumor Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 1361–1370 | Cite as

miR-221/222: promising biomarkers for breast cancer

  • Wei-Xian Chen
  • Qing Hu
  • Man-Tang Qiu
  • Shan-Liang Zhong
  • Jin-Jin Xu
  • Jin-Hai Tang
  • Jian-Hua Zhao


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs of 19–25 nt that can regulate gene expression at a posttranscriptional level. Increasing evidence indicates that miRNAs participate in almost every step of cellular processes and are often aberrantly expressed in human cancer. miR-221 and miR-222 are two highly homologous miRNAs that always act as a gene cluster (miR-221/222) in cellular regulation and have extensively been studied in cancer network. Here, we review the role of miR-221/222 in breast cancer (BCa) development and progression: regulating proliferative signaling pathways, altering telomere and telomerase activity, avoiding cell death from tumor suppressors, autophagy and apoptosis, monitoring angiogenesis, supporting epithelial–mesenchymal transition, and even controlling cell-specific function within microenvironment. We consider that miR-221/222 act as promising biomarkers for BCa and they would offer a new way in molecular targeting cancer treatment.


MicroRNA miR-221 miR-222 miR-221/222 Breast cancer 



This work has no fund. We thank Shan-Liang Zhong, MD and Jin-Jin Xu, MD for their discussions and help in revision.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei-Xian Chen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Qing Hu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Man-Tang Qiu
    • 1
  • Shan-Liang Zhong
    • 4
  • Jin-Jin Xu
    • 4
  • Jin-Hai Tang
    • 3
    • 5
  • Jian-Hua Zhao
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.The Fourth Clinical College of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.The Graduate School of Xuzhou Medical CollegeXuzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of General SurgeryNanjing Medical University Affiliated Cancer Hospital Cancer Institute of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjingChina
  4. 4.Center of Clinical LaboratoryNanjing Medical University Affiliated Cancer Hospital Cancer Institute of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjingChina
  5. 5.NanjingChina

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