Understanding the role of NRF2-regulated miRNAs in human malignancies

Niraj M Shah, Stuart A Rushworth, Megan Y Murray, Kristian M Bowles and David J MacEwan _

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Oncotarget. 2013; 4:1130-1142. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1181

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Niraj M Shah1,2, Stuart A Rushworth1, Megan Y Murray1, Kristian M Bowles1 and David J MacEwan2

1 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, United Kingdom

2 MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science, Department of Clinical and Molecular Pharmacology, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom


David J MacEwan, email:

Keywords: NRF2, miRNA, transcription factor, oncogenesis, drug resistance

Received: July 15, 2013 Accepted: August 6, 2013 Published: August 8, 2013


Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2) is a key transcription factor that regulates the expression of over a hundred cytoprotective and antioxidant genes that provide cellular protection from reactive oxygen species. Chemotherapy resistance in several cancers has been linked to dysregulation of the NRF2 signalling pathway, moreover there is growing evidence that NRF2 may contribute to tumorigenesis. MicroRNA (miRNA) are small non-coding RNA sequences that post-transcriptionally regulate mRNA sequences. In cancer pathogenesis, aberrantly expressed miRNAs can act as either tumor suppressor or oncogenic miRNA. Recent evidence has been described that identifies a number of miRNA that can be regulated by NRF2. This review outlines the importance of NRF2 in regulating miRNA, and the functional role this may have in the tumorigenesis of human malignancies and their chemotherapy resistance.

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