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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 2015, Article ID 150634, 8 pages
Review Article

Chemoresistance, Cancer Stem Cells, and miRNA Influences: The Case for Neuroblastoma

1School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TH, UK
2Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking, University of Malta, Msida MSD 2080, Malta
3Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester M1 7DN, UK

Received 29 April 2015; Revised 26 June 2015; Accepted 1 July 2015

Academic Editor: Nils Ole Schmidt

Copyright © 2015 Alfred Buhagiar and Duncan Ayers. 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.


Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that develops most often in infants and children under the age of five years. Neuroblastoma originates within the peripheral sympathetic ganglia, with 30% of the cases developing within the adrenal medulla, although it can also occur within other regions of the body such as nerve tissue in the spinal cord, neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate cellular pathways, differentiation, apoptosis, and stem cell maintenance. Such miRNAs regulate genes involved in cellular processes. Consequently, they are implicated in the regulation of a spectrum of signaling pathways within the cell. In essence, the role of miRNAs in the development of cancer is of utmost importance for the understanding of dysfunctional cellular pathways that lead to the conversion of normal cells into cancer cells. This review focuses on highlighting the recent, important implications of miRNAs within the context of neuroblastoma basic research efforts, particularly concerning miRNA influences on cancer stem cell pathology and chemoresistance pathology for this condition, together with development of translational medicine approaches for novel diagnostic tools and therapies for this neuroblastoma.