The realization that microRNAs (miRNAs) are frequently deregulated in malignancy has had a major impact on cancer research. In particular, the recent finding that highly stable forms of miRNAs can be accurately measured in body fluids, including blood, has generated considerable excitement. Here, we discuss the potential of blood-based circulating miRNAs as diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers of prostate cancer. We also describe practical considerations that may influence identification and/or measurement of miRNA biomarkers in the circulation. Finally, evidence is prevented for the emerging concept that circulating miRNAs are actively released by their cells of origin and can modulate gene expression at distal sites. These mobile miRNAs, which we term 'hormomirs' because of their hormone-like characteristics, could act as local or long-range signals to maintain normal homeostasis or influence the development and progression of diseases such as cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cancer Research