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Molecular Biology International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 839872, 8 pages
Review Article

The Role of miRNAs as Key Regulators in the Neoplastic Microenvironment

1Biological, Chemical and Physical Sciences Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
2Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, The Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA

Received 21 December 2010; Accepted 6 February 2011

Academic Editor: Alessandro Desideri

Copyright © 2011 K. K. Wentz-Hunter and J. A. Potashkin. 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 neoplastic microenvironment has been recognized to play a critical role in the development of cancer. Although a large body of evidence has established the importance of the cancer microenvironment, the manners of crosstalk between it and the cancer cells still remains unclear. Emerging mechanisms of communication include microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs are small noncoding RNA molecules that are involved in the posttranscriptional regulation of mRNA. Both intracellular and circulating miRNAs are differentially expressed in cancer and some of these alterations have been correlated with clinical patient outcomes. The role of miRNAs in the tumor microenvironment has only recently become a focus of research, however. In this paper, we discuss the influence of miRNAs on the tumor microenvironment as it relates to cancer progression. We conclude that miRNAs are a critical component in understanding invasion and metastasis of cancer cells.