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Regulation of autophagy by microRNAs in human breast cancer

Journal of Biomedical Science , Volume 28, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00715-9

Abstract: Breast cancer is the most common solid cancer that affects female population globally. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that can regulate post-transcriptional modification of multiple downstream genes. Autophagy is a conserved cellular catabolic activity that aims to provide nutrients and degrade un-usable macromolecules in mammalian cells. A number of in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies have reported that some miRNAs could modulate autophagy activity in human breast cancer cells, and these would influence human breast cancer progression and treatment response. Therefore, this review was aimed to discuss the roles of autophagy-regulating miRNAs in influencing breast cancer development and treatment response. The review would first introduce autophagy types and process, followed by the discussion of the roles of different miRNAs in modulating autophagy in human breast cancer, and to explore how would this miRNA-autophagy regulatory process affect the disease progression or treatment response. Lastly, the potential applications and challenges of utilizing autophagy-regulating miRNAs as breast cancer biomarkers and novel therapeutic agents would be discussed.
Keywords: Biomarkers / miRNAs / Autophagy / Breast cancer / Therapeutic agents

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