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Molecules 2014, 19(5), 5704-5716; doi:10.3390/molecules19055704

The Role of microRNA in Head and Neck Cancer: Current Knowledge and Perspectives

Medical Oncology Department, AUSL Valle d'Aosta, Aosta Postcode 11100, Italy
Radiation Oncology Department, AUSL Valle d'Aosta, Aosta Postcode 11100, Italy
Medical Oncology Unit—National Cancer Research Centre Istituto Tumori "Giovanni Paolo II", Bari Postcode 70124, Italy
Medical Oncology Unit—S.G. Moscati Hospital ASL TA/1, Taranto Postcode 74100, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2014 / Revised: 28 March 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue miRNAs as Probes to Monitor Cancer and Neurodegenerative Disorders)
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Head and neck cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed malignancies worldwide. Patients with advanced disease stages frequently develop recurrences or distant metastasis, which results a five-year survival rates of less than 60% despite considerable advances in multimodality therapy. A better understanding of molecular basis of tumorigenesis is required to improve clinical outcomes and to develop new anti-cancer drugs. microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, non-coding, RNA molecules that modulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. They are important regulator in normal biological process; however miRNAs deregulation has been observed in many different tumors and is involved in tumorigenesis. miRNAs may act as tumor suppressors or as oncogenes. Several studies on head and neck cancer demonstrated how aberrant expression of miRNAs is involved in proliferation, metastasis, chemoresistence, and radioresistance. In addition, miRNAs are excellent biomarker targets because they circulate stable in human body fluids and can be obtained with non-invasive methods. Moreover, miRNAs up and down regulation has been correlated with specific cancer phenotype (poor prognosis, aggressiveness and resistance to treatment), playing a role as prognostic biomarkers. This review summarizes current finding on miRNAs in head and neck cancer and their potential role as target for next drug therapy.
Keywords: microRNA; hand and neck cancer; biomarkers; chemoresistence; radioresistence microRNA; hand and neck cancer; biomarkers; chemoresistence; radioresistence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Courthod, G.; Franco, P.; Palermo, L.; Pisconti, S.; Numico, G. The Role of microRNA in Head and Neck Cancer: Current Knowledge and Perspectives. Molecules 2014, 19, 5704-5716.

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