Functional and clinical significance of dysregulated microRNAs in liver cancer

Po Shuan Huang, Chia Jung Liao, Ya Hui Huang, Chau Ting Yeh, Cheng Yi Chen, Hui Chi Tang, Cheng Chih Chang, Kwang Huei Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Liver cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the world. This mainly reflects the lack of early diagnosis tools and effective treatment methods. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-transcribed RNAs, some of which play important regulatory roles in liver cancer. Here, we discuss microRNAs with key impacts on liver cancer, such as miR-122, miR-21, miR-214, and miR-199. These microRNAs participate in various physiological regulatory pathways of liver cancer cells, and their modulation can have non-negligible effects in the treatment of liver cancer. We discuss whether these microRNAs can be used for better clinical diagnosis and/or drug devel-opment. With the advent of novel technologies, fast, inexpensive, and non-invasive RNA-based bi-omarker research has become a new mainstream approach. However, the clinical application of microRNA-based markers has been limited by the high sequence similarity among them and the potential for off-target problems. Therefore, researchers particularly value microRNAs that are specific to or have special functions in liver cancer. These include miR-122, which is specifically expressed in the liver, and miR-34, which is necessary for the replication of the hepatitis C virus in liver cancer. Clinical treatment drugs have been developed based on miR-34 and miR-122 (MRX34 and Miravirsen, respectively), but their side effects have not yet been overcome. Future research is needed to address these weaknesses and establish a feasible microRNA-based treatment strategy for liver cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5361
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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