MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and Long Non-Coding RNAs (lncRNAs) as New Tools for Cancer Therapy: First Steps from Bench to Bedside

Margherita Ratti, Andrea Lampis, Michele Ghidini, Massimiliano Salati, Milko B. Mirchev, Nicola Valeri, Jens C. Hahne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Non-coding RNAs represent a significant proportion of the human genome. After having been considered as ‘junk’ for a long time, non-coding RNAs are now well established as playing important roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis and functions. Some non-coding RNAs show cell- and tissue-specific expression patterns and are specifically deregulated under pathological conditions (e.g. cancer). Therefore, non-coding RNAs have been extensively studied as potential biomarkers in the context of different diseases with a focus on microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) for several years. Since their discovery, miRNAs have attracted more attention than lncRNAs in research studies; however, both families of non-coding RNAs have been established to play an important role in gene expression control, either as transcriptional or post-transcriptional regulators. Both miRNAs and lncRNAs can regulate key genes involved in the development of cancer, thus influencing tumour growth, invasion, and metastasis by increasing the activation of oncogenic pathways and limiting the expression of tumour suppressors. Furthermore, miRNAs and lncRNAs are also emerging as important mediators in drug-sensitivity and drug-resistance mechanisms. In the light of these premises, a number of pre-clinical and early clinical studies are exploring the potential of non-coding RNAs as new therapeutics. The aim of this review is to summarise the latest knowledge of the use of miRNAs and lncRNAs as therapeutic tools for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-278
JournalTargeted Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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