Hepatocellular carcinoma (also termed hepatocarcinoma) is the third cancer-related cause of death worldwide. To our knowledge, markers such as α-fetoprotein display poor performance in the early diagnosis and prognosis prediction of hepatocarcinoma. MicroRNAs are an evolutionarily conserved class of small noncoding single-stranded RNA typically consisting of 18–24 nucleotides. They have been reported to act as tumor suppressors or oncogenes via reversely regulating gene expression. Recent evidence has revealed that microRNAs, especially in body fluids such as the blood and urine, display important diagnostic and prognostic potential for hepatocarcinoma. Here, we reviewed currently available data on microRNAs and hepatocarcinoma, with emphasis on the biogenesis and function of microRNAs and their potential diagnostic and prognostic value for hepatocarcinoma. We also discussed the clinical utility perspectives of microRNAs in hepatocarcinoma and possible challenges.
Part of the book: Hepatocellular Carcinoma