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Review Article

miR-122 and miR-21 as clinical biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma: A review

Nishant Kumar, Priyvart Choudhary, Narotam Sharma, Alok Tripathi, Nishesh Sharma.


Molecular diagnostics represent techniques implemented to search and identify, biological markers located in the genome or cellular pool. Molecular markers are looked upon as an indispensable tool for the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development is attributed to liver diseases and risk factors such as the hepatitis-C virus, hepatic abnormalities, cirrhosis, and metabolic disorders causing liver damage. A challenge for available treatment methods for HCC is the lack of early-stage diagnosis. Micro-RNAs (mi-RNAs) are regulatory non-coding RNA, smaller in size having a significantly key role in the modulation of gene expression, post-transcriptional modification of messenger RNA (mRNA), and controlling cell progression, differentiation, and apoptosis. The serum and plasma of HCC patients contain dysregulated mi-RNAs during migration, invasion, and development of HCC. It is evident that mi-RNA expression is increased or decreased in specific cancer cell lines and tissues, and thus it could be considered a disease biomarker for the investigation of HCC. In this review, the functional level of mi- RNAs (miR-122 and miR-21), their molecular aspects, and gene regulation is reviewed to identify their role as potential biomarkers for HCC diagnosis and treatment.

Key words: mi-RNA, liver cancer, diagnostic biomarker, therapeutic target, gene expression

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