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The Contribution of DNA Methylation in the Regulation of MicroRNA Expression in Cancer

Call for Papers

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of short noncoding RNA molecules about 22 nucleotides in length. miRNAs regulate a wide range of cellular functions through translational repression of their target genes. There is emerging evidence that miRNAs are often dysregulated and play a fundamental role in many cancers. However, the mechanism underlying miRNA dysregulation is still elusive. DNA methylation is a heritable epigenetic modification, leading to repressed gene expression and consequent phenotypic alterations without changing the DNA sequence. DNA methylation plays a key role in the silencing of numerous tumour-suppressor genes, thereby affecting a number of vital cellular processes, including the cell cycle checkpoint, apoptosis, signal transduction, cell adhesion, and angiogenesis. Also widely altered in human malignancies is the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) that act as posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression. Researchers have suggested that epigenetic modifications can contribute to miRNA dysregulation in cancer via DNA methylation of miRNA promoter regions.

Recent technological advances have enabled the comprehensive analysis of both miRNA expression profiles and the epigenome of cancer cells. This has led to the identification of a number of epigenetically regulated miRNAs. As with protein-coding genes, it appears that downregulated tumour suppressor miRNAs have been localised to regions of CpG island hypermethylation. miRNAs target a variety of biological pathways and in this way they can have tumour suppressor and oncogenic functions, and their expression can be controlled by methylation status (DNA hyper- or hypomethylation). DNA methylation and miRNA expression both represent stable components of tumour biology that are readily detectable in circulation; therefore aberrant DNA methylation of miRNA genes is a potentially useful biomarker for detecting cancer and predicting its outcome. Moreover, reexpression of downregulated tumour-suppressor miRNAs and their replacement using miRNA mimics or expression vectors could be effective approaches to cancer therapy.

The present special issue aims to publish high-quality research articles as well as review contribution on a variety of topics related to DNA methylation and microRNA in cancers.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • MicroRNA expression in cancer
    • Oncogenic
    • Tumour suppressors
  • MicroRNA regulations
    • DNA methylation regulated microRNA
    • Other mechanisms
  • DNA methylation and microRNA detection
    • As noninvasive biomarker
    • Tumour and adjacent normal samples

Authors can submit their manuscripts through the Manuscript Tracking System at

Submission DeadlineFriday, 6 April 2018
Publication DateAugust 2018

Papers are published upon acceptance, regardless of the Special Issue publication date.

Lead Guest Editor

  • Yuen Cheng, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Guest Editors

  • Michael Chan, National Chung Cheng University, Min-Hsiung, Taiwan
  • Xiaoxing Li, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China