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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 762183, 7 pages
Review Article

A MicroRNA Component of the Neoplastic Microenvironment: Microregulators with Far-Reaching Impact

Department of Molecular Biology, Institute of Basic Medicine, School of Life Sciences, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China

Received 31 May 2012; Revised 27 July 2012; Accepted 11 August 2012

Academic Editor: Juan Carlos Calvo

Copyright © 2013 Xiaolei Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The interplay between tumor cells and their microenvironment plays a pivotal role in tumor development and progression. Although a growing body of evidence has established the importance of the tumor microenvironment, an understanding of the crosstalk between its components and cancer cells remains elusive. The pathways triggered by microenvironmental factors could modulate cancer-related gene transcription, also affecting small noncoding RNAs, microRNAs, which have emerged as key posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression, directly involved in human cancers. Although microRNAs regulate most biological mechanisms, their role in the tumor microenvironment has only recently become the focus of intense research. In this paper, we focus on the intertwined connection between the tumor microenvironment and aberrant expression of microRNAs involved in carcinogenesis. We also discuss the emerging roles of microRNAs in the tumor microenvironment as it relates to cancer progression. We conclude that microRNAs are critical for our understanding of the development of cancer, and that targeting microRNA signaling pathways in the microenvironment as well as in tumor cells opens new therapeutic avenues to the global control of cancer.