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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 249393, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/249393
Review Article

The Role of MicroRNAs in Ovarian Cancer

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka 5650871, Japan

Received 6 June 2014; Revised 22 August 2014; Accepted 27 August 2014; Published 10 September 2014

Academic Editor: Paolo Gandellini

Copyright © 2014 Yasuto Kinose 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.

Abstract

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of malignant gynecological tumors. Its lethality may be due to difficulties in detecting it at an early stage and lack of effective treatments for patients with an advanced or recurrent status. Therefore, there is a strong need for prognostic and predictive markers to diagnose it early and to help optimize and personalize treatment. MicroRNAs are noncoding RNAs that regulate target genes posttranscriptionally. They are involved in carcinogenesis, cell cycle, apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and chemoresistance. The dysregulation of microRNAs is involved in the initiation and progression of human cancers including ovarian cancer, and strong evidence that microRNAs can act as oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes has emerged. Several microRNA signatures that are unique to ovarian cancer have been proposed, and serum-circulating microRNAs have the potential to be useful diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Various microRNAs such as those in the miR-200 family, the miR-199/214 cluster, or the let-7 paralogs have potential as therapeutic targets for disseminated or chemoresistant ovarian tumors. Although many obstacles need to be overcome, microRNA therapy could be a powerful tool for ovarian cancer prevention and treatment. In this review, we discuss the emerging roles of microRNAs in various aspects of ovarian cancer.