Ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis because early detection is difficult and recurrent ovarian cancer is usually drug-resistant. The morbidity and mortality of ovarian cancer are high worldwide and new methods of diagnosis and therapy are needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression that are involved in carcinogenesis, metastasis, and invasion. Thus, miRNAs are likely to be useful as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and for cancer therapy. Many miRNAs have altered expression in ovarian cancer compared to normal ovarian tissues and these changes may be useful for diagnosis and treatment. For example, deficiencies of enzymes including Dicer and Drosha that are required for miRNA biogenesis may be adverse prognostic factors; miRNAs such as miR-214 and miR-31, which are involved in drug resistance, and the miR-200 family, which is implicated in metastasis, may serve as biomarkers; and transfection of downregulated miRNAs and inhibition of upregulated miRNAs may be effective for treatment of ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy targeting epigenetic mechanisms associated with miRNAs may also be effective to reverse gene silencing.
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