Gabriella Misso 1 , Maria Teresa Di Martino 2 , Giuseppe De Rosa 3 , Ammad Ahmad Farooqi 4 , Angela Lombardi 1 , Virginia Campani 3 , Mayra Rachele Zarone 1 , Annamaria Gullà 2 , Pierosandro Tagliaferri 2 , Pierfrancesco Tassone 2 , 5 , Michele Caraglia 2 , 5 , *
23 September 2014
The microRNA(miRNA)-34a is a key regulator of tumor suppression. It controls the expression of a plethora of target proteins involved in cell cycle, differentiation and apoptosis, and antagonizes processes that are necessary for basic cancer cell viability as well as cancer stemness, metastasis, and chemoresistance. In this review, we focus on the molecular mechanisms of miR-34a-mediated tumor suppression, giving emphasis on the main miR-34a targets, as well as on the principal regulators involved in the modulation of this miRNA. Moreover, we shed light on the miR-34a role in modulating responsiveness to chemotherapy and on the phytonutrients-mediated regulation of miR-34a expression and activity in cancer cells. Given the broad anti-oncogenic activity of miR-34a, we also discuss the substantial benefits of a new therapeutic concept based on nanotechnology delivery of miRNA mimics. In fact, the replacement of oncosuppressor miRNAs provides an effective strategy against tumor heterogeneity and the selective RNA-based delivery systems seems to be an excellent platform for a safe and effective targeting of the tumor.