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The role of microRNAs in metal carcinogen-induced cell malignant transformation and tumorigenesis

Humphries, Brock, Wang, Zhishan, Yang, Chengfeng
Food and chemical toxicology 2016 v.98 pp. 58-65
arsenic, biomarkers, cadmium, carcinogenesis, carcinogens, chromium, chronic exposure, drug therapy, early diagnosis, epigenetics, humans, metastasis, microRNA, neoplasms, nickel, prognosis, toxicology
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), an important component of epigenetic mechanisms of carcinogenesis, have been shown to play crucial roles in cancer initiation, metastasis, prognosis and responses to drug treatment and may serve as biomarkers for early diagnosis of cancer and tools for cancer therapy. Metal carcinogens, such as arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and nickel, are well-established human carcinogens causing various cancers upon long term exposure. However, the mechanism of metal carcinogenesis has not been well understood, which limits our capability to effectively diagnose and treat human cancers resulting from chronic metal carcinogen exposure. Over recent years, the role of miRNAs in metal carcinogenesis has been actively explored and a growing body of evidence indicates the critical involvement of miRNAs in metal carcinogenesis. This review aims to discuss recent studies showing that miRNAs play important roles in metal carcinogen-induced cell malignant transformation and tumorigenesis. Some thoughts for future further studies in this field are also presented.