MicroRNAs: Small but potent oncogenes or tumor suppressors

Yong Sun Lee, Anindya Dutta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that modulate the expression of target mRNA. Many miRNAs are known to be up- or downregulated in a variety of cancers, suggesting a role for miRNAs in tumorigenesis. The correlation between the expression of miRNAs and their effects on target oncogenes, on tumorigenesis and on the proliferation of cancer cells is beginning to gain experimental evidence. For example, the miRNA (miR)-17-92 cluster has been characterized as an oncogene, while let-7 represses Ras and miR-15a/ -16-1 represses Bcl-2, thereby acting as tumor suppressors. Thus, an oncogenic or tumor suppressive miRNA may have potential as a therapeutic target to control cancers. This review will discuss the relationship between miRNAs and tumorigenesis, and the potential for modulating miRNAs for the treatment of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-564
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Investigational Drugs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Oncogene
  • OncomiR
  • Tumor suppressor
  • microRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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