Cancer Epigenetics

Volume 863 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 241-251


The Role of MicroRNAs in the Management of Liver Cancer

  • Krishna K. BanaudhaAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, George Washington University Email author 
  • , Mukesh VermaAffiliated withDivision of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

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Four major components of epigenetic regulation are promoter methylation, histone modification, chromatin conformation changes, and altered expression of noncoding RNAs, especially microRNAs (miRNAs). MiRNAs are noncoding RNAs of single-stranded RNA molecules consisting of ∼22 nucleotides that regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level. MiRNAs are endogenous and potentially can regulate every aspect of cellular activity, including development and proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, viral infection, epigenetic modulation, apoptotic cell death, and tumor genesis. Recent studies provide evidence that miRNAs are abundant in the liver and affect a diverse spectrum of liver functions. MiRNA expression and deregulation of miRNAs may be a major pathogenetic factor in many liver diseases. Although global downregulation is a common trait in human malignancies, including viral hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and polycystic liver diseases, specific miRNAs are upregulated in cancer and offer new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to manage liver diseases. Here, the current status of the role of miRNAs in liver cancer is discussed along with areas for future research.

Key words

Biogenesis Biomarkers Epidemiology Epigenetics Hepatitis Liver cancer MiRNA Treatment