MicroRNA-34a as a therapeutic agent against human cancer

Yoshimasa Saito, Toshiaki Nakaoka, Hidetsugu Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


microRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that down-regulate expression of various target genes. Cancer-related miRNAs are aberrantly expressed and act as tumor suppressors or oncogenes during carcinogenesis. We and other researchers have demonstrated that important tumor suppressor miRNAs are silenced by epigenetic alterations, resulting in the activation of target oncogenes in cancer cells. miR-34a was identified as a target of p53 and induces a G1 cell cycle arrest, senescence and apoptosis in response to DNA damage. miR-34a is an important tumor suppressor whose expression is epigenetically silenced in various human cancers. Enforced expression of miR-34a induces cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, senescence, and suppression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and inhibits cell proliferation of cancer stem cells. Epigenetic therapy with chromatin-modifying drugs such as inhibitors of DNA methylation and histone deacetylase has shown clinical promise for the treatment of malignancies. Restoring of miR-34a expression by epigenetic therapy and/or delivery of miR-34a mimics may be a promising therapeutic strategy against human cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1959
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 16


  • Cancer
  • Cancer stem cell
  • DNA methylation
  • MiR-34a
  • MicroRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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