A new class of regulatory molecules known as microRNAs (miRNAs) is redefining our understanding of the molecular pathways associated with tumorigenesis. These miRNAs are small noncoding RNA (ncRNA) sequences with potent regulatory potential. The aberrant expression of miRNAs has been associated with the development of various tumors. It has been suggested that miRNAs can both regulate and act as tumor-suppressor genes and oncogenes. Our understanding of the role of miRNAs in head and neck tumorigenesis is in its infancy. However, several recent studies have revealed extensive dysregulation of miRNA in head and neck tumors and have highlighted the potential of certain miRNAs to act as diagnostic and prognostic markers and targets for new therapeutic agents. The intent of this review is to discuss and summarize current findings that point to a significant role for miRNAs in head and neck tumorigenesis.
- Gene regulation
- Head and neck