The microRNA-200 family: small molecules with novel roles in cancer development, progression and therapy

Brock Humphries _ and Chengfeng Yang

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:6472-6498. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3052

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Brock Humphries1,2, Chengfeng Yang1,2,3

1Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

2Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

3Center for Integrative Toxicology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Correspondence to:

Chengfeng Yang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: microRNA, miR-200, cancer initiation, cancer metastasis, cancer therapeutic target

Received: November 14, 2014     Accepted: January 06, 2015     Published: January 30, 2015


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large family of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate protein-coding gene expression post-transcriptionally via base pairing between the 5′ seed region of a miRNA and the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of a messenger RNA (mRNA). Recent evidence has supported the critical role that miRNAs play in many diseases including cancer. The miR-200 family consisting of 5 members (miR-200a, -200b, -200c, -141, -429) is an emerging miRNA family that has been shown to play crucial roles in cancer initiation and metastasis, and potentially be important for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. While miR-200s were found to be critically involved in the metastatic colonization to the lungs in mouse mammary xenograft tumor models, a large number of studies demonstrated their strong suppressive effects on cell transformation, cancer cell proliferation, migration, invasion, tumor growth and metastasis. This review aims to discuss research findings about the role of the miR-200 family in cancer initiation, each step of cancer metastatic cascade, cancer diagnosis and treatment. A comprehensive summary of currently validated miR-200 targets is also presented. It is concluded that miR-200 family may serve as novel targets for the therapy of multiple types of cancer.

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