Over the past several years it has become clear that alterations in the expression of microRNA (miRNA) genes contribute to the pathogenesis of most - if not all - human malignancies. These alterations can be caused by various mechanisms, including deletions, amplifications or mutations involving miRNA loci, epigenetic silencing or the dysregulation of transcription factors that target specific miRNAs. Because malignant cells show dependence on the dysregulated expression of miRNA genes, which in turn control or are controlled by the dysregulation of multiple protein-coding oncogenes or tumour suppressor genes, these small RNAs provide important opportunities for the development of future miRNA-based therapies.
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