MicroRNAs and angiogenesis: a new era for the management of colorectal cancer

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small noncoding RNA molecules containing only 20–22 nucleotides. MiRNAs play a role in gene silencing and translation suppression by targeting and binding to mRNA. Proper control of miRNA expression is very important for maintaining a normal physiological environment because miRNAs can affect most cellular pathways, including cell cycle checkpoint, cell proliferation, and apoptosis pathways, and have a wide range of target genes. With these properties, miRNAs can modulate multiple signalling pathways involved in cancer development, such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, and migration pathways. MiRNAs that activate or inhibit the molecular pathway related to tumour angiogenesis are common topics of research. Angiogenesis promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis by providing oxygen and diffusible nutrients and releasing proangiogenic factors and is one of the hallmarks of tumour progression. CRC is one of the most common tumours, and metastasis has always been a difficult issue in its treatment. Although comprehensive treatments, such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy, have prolonged the survival of CRC patients, the overall response is not optimistic. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find new therapeutic targets to improve CRC treatment. In a series of recent reports, miRNAs have been shown to bidirectionally regulate angiogenesis in colorectal cancer. Many miRNAs can directly act on VEGF or inhibit angiogenesis through other pathways (HIF-1a, PI3K/AKT, etc.), while some miRNAs, specifically many exosomal miRNAs, are capable of promoting CRC angiogenesis. Understanding the mechanism of action of miRNAs in angiogenesis is of great significance for finding new targets for the treatment of tumour angiogenesis. Deciphering the exact role of specific miRNAs in angiogenesis is a challenge due to the high complexity of their actions. Here, we describe the latest advances in the understanding of miRNAs and their corresponding targets that play a role in CRC angiogenesis and discuss possible miRNA-based therapeutic strategies.

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Tang, Y., Zong, S., Zeng, H., Ruan, X., Yao, L., Han, S., & Hou, F. (2021, December 1). MicroRNAs and angiogenesis: a new era for the management of colorectal cancer. Cancer Cell International. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12935-021-01920-0

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