MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in multiple biological activities as well as disease progression including cancer. Interestingly, miRNAs could act as either tumor suppressors or oncogenes depending on the functions of their targets. Using high-throughput profiling, dysregulation of miRNAs has been widely observed in different stages of cancer, and there is mounting evidence demonstrating several misguided mechanisms that cause miRNA dysregulation. In this review, we summarize the key functions of miRNAs in cancer, especially those affecting tumor metastasis and drug resistance. Moreover, the mechanisms leading to dysregulation of miRNAs, including genomic abnormalities, DNA/histone modifications, transcriptional regulation, abnormal biogenesis, and interaction between miRNAs, are also discussed.
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