J Cancer 2011; 2:116-122. doi:10.7150/jca.2.116

Review

miRNA Biomarkers in Breast Cancer Detection and Management

Sidney W. Fu1 , Liang Chen1, Yan-gao Man2

1. Department of Medicine, Division of Genomic Medicine, and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20037, USA
2. Department of Gynecologic and Breast Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and American Registry of Pathology, Washington, DC 20306, USA

Abstract

Breast cancer is considered as a heterogeneous disease comprising various types of neoplasms, which involves different profile changes in both mRNA and micro-RNA (miRNA) expression. Extensive studies on mRNA expression in breast tumor have yielded some very interesting findings, some of which have been validated and used in clinic. Recent miRNA research advances showed great potential for the development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets. miRNAs are a new class of small non-coding regulatory RNAs that are involved in regulating gene expression at the posttranscriptional level. It has been demonstrated that miRNA expression is frequently deregulated in breast cancer, which warrants further in-depth investigation to decipher their precise regulatory role in tumorigenesis. We address briefly the regulatory mechanism of miRNA, the expression of miRNAs in tumorigenesis, and their potential use as breast cancer biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and prognosis. In addition, we discuss the use of the Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) tissue as an invaluable source for breast cancer biomarker discovery and validation, and the potential use of circulating miRNAs in blood for early breast cancer detection. We envision the potential use of miRNAs in breast cancer management in the near future, particularly in improving the early diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

Keywords: breast cancer, miRNA, microarray, FFPE, biomarker

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How to cite this article:
Fu SW, Chen L, Man Yg. miRNA Biomarkers in Breast Cancer Detection and Management. J Cancer 2011; 2:116-122. doi:10.7150/jca.2.116. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v02p0116.htm