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Open Access Open Badges Review

The multiple roles of microRNA-155 in oncogenesis

Gadareth Higgs1* and Frank Slack2

Author Affiliations

1 Yale Center for Medical Informatics, Yale University, Suite 505, 300 George Street, New Haven, USA

2 Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, KBT 936, PO Box 208103, New Haven, CT 06520, USA

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Journal of Clinical Bioinformatics 2013, 3:17  doi:10.1186/2043-9113-3-17

Published: 28 September 2013


The microRNA miR-155 is prominent in cancer biology. Among microRNAs that have been linked to cancer, it is the most commonly overexpressed in malignancies (PNAS 109:20047-20052, 2012). Since its discovery, miR-155 has been implicated in promoting cancers of the breast, lung, liver, and lymphatic system. As such, targeted therapies may prove beneficial to cancer treatment. This review discusses the important role of miR-155 in oncogenesis. It synthesizes information from ten recent papers on miR-155, and includes an analysis and discussion of its association with cancer, interactions with other miRNAs, mechanisms of action, and the most promising available treatment options.

Current debates in the field include the importance of miRNAs in general and their utility as targets in preventing tumorigenesis (Blood 119:513-520, 2012). Most of the papers being reviewed here confirm the role of miR-155 in oncogenesis (EMBO Mol Med 1:288-295, 2009). While there is some controversy surrounding recent research that claims that miR-155 may display anti-oncogenic or pro-immunological benefits (Cell Rep 2:1697–1709, 2012), most research seems to point to the importance of anti-miRs, with anti-miR-155 in particular, for cancer therapy.

miR-155; Oncogenesis; OncomiRs; Anti-miR therapy; Nanoparticle delivery