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MiRNAs are a new class of small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional and translational levels. MiRNAs have been implicated in the control of many vital biological processes including development, cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. A growing number of studies have shown that miRNAs also play an important role in carcinogenesis and other diseases. Among the miRNAs identified, miRNA-21 is dramatically up-regulated in cancer cells of various origins. It regulates a wide range of genes and pathways involved in cancer initiation, transformation, invasion, and metastasis. MiRNA-21 also acts as a pro-survival factor in cardiovascular diseases. Aberrant expression in these diseases makes miRNA-21 a potential marker for disease diagnosis and prognosis. This review highlights the complex roles that miRNA-21 plays in cancer and cardiovascular diseases and its potential clinical applications.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Publication Date





147 - 158


Key Laboratory of Bio-resources and Eco-environment (Ministry of Education), College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, People's Republic of China.


Animals, Humans, Neoplasms, Cell Transformation, Neoplastic, Cardiovascular Diseases, MicroRNAs, Cell Survival, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Up-Regulation, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Biomarkers, Tumor