Epithelial-mesenchymal transition-associated miRNAs in ovarian carcinoma, with highlight on the miR-200 family: Prognostic value and prospective role in ovarian cancer therapeutics
Spandidos, Demetrios A.
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of short ribonucleic acids found to play a pivotal role in cancer pathogenesis. MiRNAs are crucial in cellular differentiation, growth, stress response, cell death and other fundamental cellular processes, and their involvement in ovarian cancer has been recently shown. They can repress the expression of important cancer-related genes and they can also function both as oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. During epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), epithelial cells lose their cell polarity and cell-cell adhesion and gain migratory and invasive properties. In the ovarian surface epithelium, EMT is considered the key regulator of the post-ovulatory repair process and it can be triggered by a range of environmental stimuli. The aberrant expression of the miR-200 family (miR-200a, miR-200b, miR-200c, miR-141 and miR-429) in ovarian carcinoma and its involvement in ovarian cancer initiation and progression has been well-demonstrated. The miR-200 family members seem to be strongly associated with a pathologic EMT and to have a metastasis suppressive role. MiRNA signatures can accurately distinguish ovarian cancer from the normal ovary and can be used as diagnostic tools to predict the clinical response to chemotherapy. Recent evidence suggests a growing list of new miRNAs (miR-187, miR-34a, miR-506, miRNA-138, miR-30c, miR-30d, miR-30e-3p, miR-370 and miR-106a, among others) that are also implicated in ovarian carcinoma-associated EMT, either enhancing or suppressing it. MiRNA-based gene therapy provides a prospective anti-tumour approach for integrated cancer therapy. The aim of nanotechnology-based delivery approach for miRNA therapy is to overcome challenges in miRNA delivery and to effectively encourage the reprogramming of miRNA networks in cancer cells, which may lead to a clinically translatable miRNA-based therapy to benefit ovarian cancer patients.