Theranostics 2015; 5(10):1122-1143. doi:10.7150/thno.11543


MicroRNAs: New Biomarkers for Diagnosis, Prognosis, Therapy Prediction and Therapeutic Tools for Breast Cancer

Gloria Bertoli, Claudia Cava, Isabella Castiglioni

Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology (IBFM), National Research Council (CNR), Milan, Italy.

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Bertoli G, Cava C, Castiglioni I. MicroRNAs: New Biomarkers for Diagnosis, Prognosis, Therapy Prediction and Therapeutic Tools for Breast Cancer. Theranostics 2015; 5(10):1122-1143. doi:10.7150/thno.11543. Available from

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Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) is involved in the initiation and progression of several human cancers, including breast cancer (BC), as strong evidence has been found that miRNAs can act as oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. This review presents the state of the art on the role of miRNAs in the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of BC. Based on the results obtained in the last decade, some miRNAs are emerging as biomarkers of BC for diagnosis (i.e., miR-9, miR-10b, and miR-17-5p), prognosis (i.e., miR-148a and miR-335), and prediction of therapeutic outcomes (i.e., miR-30c, miR-187, and miR-339-5p) and have important roles in the control of BC hallmark functions such as invasion, metastasis, proliferation, resting death, apoptosis, and genomic instability. Other miRNAs are of interest as new, easily accessible, affordable, non-invasive tools for the personalized management of patients with BC because they are circulating in body fluids (e.g., miR-155 and miR-210). In particular, circulating multiple miRNA profiles are showing better diagnostic and prognostic performance as well as better sensitivity than individual miRNAs in BC. New miRNA-based drugs are also promising therapy for BC (e.g., miR-9, miR-21, miR34a, miR145, and miR150), and other miRNAs are showing a fundamental role in modulation of the response to other non-miRNA treatments, being able to increase their efficacy (e.g., miR-21, miR34a, miR195, miR200c, and miR203 in combination with chemotherapy).

Keywords: Breast cancer, microRNA/miRNA, circulating biomarker, theranostic, diagnosis, prognosis, prediction and therapy.