MicroRNA Networks in Breast Cancer Cells

  • Andliena Tahiri
  • Miriam R. Aure
  • Vessela N. KristensenEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1711)


A variety of molecular techniques can be used in order to unravel the molecular composition of cells. In particular, the microarray technology has been used to identify novel biomarkers that may be useful in the diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of cancer. The microarray technology is ideal for biomarker discovery as it allows for the screening of a large number of molecules at once. In this review, we focus on microRNAs (miRNAs) which are key molecules in cells and regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. miRNAs are small, single-stranded RNA molecules that bind to complementary mRNAs. Binding of miRNAs to mRNAs leads either to degradation, or translational inhibition of the target mRNA. Roughly one third of all the mRNAs are postulated to be regulated by miRNAs. miRNAs are known to be deregulated in different types of cancer, including breast cancer, and it has been demonstrated that deregulation of several miRNAs can be used as biological markers in cancer. miRNA expression can for example discriminate between normal, benign and malignant breast tissue, and between different breast cancer subtypes.

In the post-genomic era, an important task of molecular biology is to understand gene regulation in the context of biological networks. Because miRNAs have such a pronounced role in cells, it is pivotal to understand the mechanisms that underlie their control, and to identify how miRNAs influence cancer development and progression.

Key words

Biomarkers Breast cancer Cancer Microarrays microRNA Systems biology 



Parts of this review have been part of two doctoral theses from the University of Oslo, Norway, under the supervision of V.N.K.: one of M.R.A., fellow of the Research Council of Norway, and one of A.T., fellow of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. Both are at present postdoctoral fellows of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andliena Tahiri
    • 1
  • Miriam R. Aure
    • 2
  • Vessela N. Kristensen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Molecular Biology (EpiGen), Division of MedicineAkershus University HospitalLørenskogNorway
  2. 2.Department of Cancer Genetics, Institute for Cancer ResearchThe Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University HospitalOsloNorway

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