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Open Access Review

An emerging role for microRNAs in NF1 tumorigenesis

Ashni Sedani, David N Cooper and Meena Upadhyaya*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN, UK

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Human Genomics 2012, 6:23  doi:10.1186/1479-7364-6-23

Published: 17 November 2012

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNA, which have recently been shown to have a wide variety of regulatory functions in relation to gene expression. Since their identification nearly 20 years ago, miRNAs have been found to play an important role in cancer, including in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)-associated tumours. NF1 is the most commonly inherited tumour predisposition syndrome and can lead to malignancy via the development of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNSTs). Although the mechanisms by which benign neurofibromas develop into MPNSTs still remain to be elucidated, it is becoming increasingly clear that miRNAs play a key role in this process and have the potential to be used as both diagnostic and prognostic markers of tumorigenesis.

Keywords:
MicroRNAs; Neurofibromatosis type 1; Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours; Tumorigenesis