The diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) have improved greatly over recent years; however, CRC is still one of the most common cancers and a major cause of cancer death worldwide. Several recently developed drugs and treatment strategies are currently in clinical trials; however, there is still a compelling need for novel, highly efficacious therapies. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs consisting of 20–25 nucleotides that regulate post-transcriptional gene expression by binding to the 3′-untranslated region of mRNAs. miRNAs are known to regulate cancer pathways and to be expressed aberrantly in cancer. Since their initial discovery, a large number of miRNAs have been identified as oncogenes, whereas others function as tumor suppressors. Furthermore, signaling pathways that are important in CRC (e.g. the WNT, MAPK, TGF-β, TP53 and PI3K pathways) are regulated by miRNAs. A single miRNA can simultaneously regulate several target genes and pathways, indicating the therapeutic potential of miRNAs in CRC. However, significant obstacles remain to be overcome, such as an efficient miRNA delivery system, and the assessment of safety and side effects. Thus, miRNA therapy is still developing and possesses great potential for the treatment of CRC. In this chapter, we focus on miRNAs related to CRC and summarize previous studies that emphasize the therapeutic aspects of miRNAs in CRC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)