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Yu Fang, Dianchun Fang, Jianguo Hu
Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(3): RA22-30
Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and causes the sixth highest cancer-related mortality worldwide. The 5-year survival of patients suffering from esophageal cancer in either advanced stage or metastasis is less than 20%. MicroRNAs are small, well conserved, non-coding RNA molecules that either repress translation or promote mRNA degradation based on the degree of complementary between miRNAs and mRNAs. Based on biogenesis and function of microRNAs, specific microRNA profiles, either from cancerous tissues or serum, were able to serve as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of esophageal cancer and predicted the effectiveness of surgery and chemoradiotherapy. MicroRNAs could also influence the biological behaviors of esophageal cancer cells, such as cellular proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and metastasis. MicroRNAs were also associated with multi-drug resistance of esophageal cancer. Further studies on the roles of microRNAs in esophageal cancer would provide a strategy to prevent and treat esophageal cancer, and reverse multi-drug resistance of esophageal cancer.