MicroRNAs as Cancer Biomarkers
David Otaegui and Charles H. Lawrie
from: Applied RNAi: From Fundamental Research to Therapeutic Applications (Edited by: Patrick Arbuthnot and Marc S. Weinberg). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)
Despite having been only formally recognized for just over ten years, microRNAs (miRNAs) have become one of the hottest topics in biology. In this short time these endogenously produced small (19-22nt) ssRNA post-transcriptional regulators have been found to play crucial roles in many, if not all, physiological and pathological processes including cancer. The importance of miRNAs to carcinogenesis is implied by the fact that many miRNAs are encoded at cancer-associated regions of the genome, and there is now overwhelming evidence that aberrant expression of miRNAs is a ubiquitous characteristic of malignancy. As well as clear therapeutic implications for miRNAs, the remarkable stability of these molecules coupled with their ability to discriminate between different cancers to a degree that surpasses traditional genes, suggests great potential as cancer biomarkers. In this chapter we review the accumulating evidence for this assertion, and provide an review of the major techniques used in miRNA biomarker studies (e.g. microarray, qRT-PCR and next generation sequencing etc.), discussing their relative strengths and weaknesses read more ...