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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 7354260, 38 pages
Review Article

Colorectal Cancer: From the Genetic Model to Posttranscriptional Regulation by Noncoding RNAs

1Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular I, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Departamento de Oncología Radioterápica, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, 28034 Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Javier Turnay; se.mcu@yanrut

Received 5 December 2016; Accepted 16 February 2017; Published 10 May 2017

Academic Editor: Michael Linnebacher

Copyright © 2017 María Antonia Lizarbe 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.


Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in developed countries and, despite the improvements achieved in its treatment options, remains as one of the main causes of cancer-related death. In this review, we first focus on colorectal carcinogenesis and on the genetic and epigenetic alterations involved. In addition, noncoding RNAs have been shown to be important regulators of gene expression. We present a general overview of what is known about these molecules and their role and dysregulation in cancer, with a special focus on the biogenesis, characteristics, and function of microRNAs. These molecules are important regulators of carcinogenesis, progression, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastases in cancer, including colorectal cancer. For this reason, miRNAs can be used as potential biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatments, or even as therapeutic agents, or as targets by themselves. Thus, this review highlights the importance of miRNAs in the development, progression, diagnosis, and therapy of colorectal cancer and summarizes current therapeutic approaches for the treatment of colorectal cancer.