MicroRNAs and Chinese Medicinal Herbs: New Possibilities in Cancer Therapy

Ming Hong, Ning Wang, Hor Yue Tan, S. W. Tsao, Yibin Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent decades Chinese medicine has been used worldwide as a complementary and alternative medicine to treat cancer. Plenty of studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) play fundamental roles in many pathological processes, including cancer, while the anti-cancer mechanisms of Chinese medicinal herbs targeting miRNAs also have been extensively explored. Our previous studies and those of others on Chinese medicinal herbs and miRNAs in various cancer models have provided a possibility of new cancer therapies, for example, up-regulating the expression of miR-23a may activate the positive regulatory network of p53 and miR-23a involved in the mechanism underlying the anti-tumor effect of berberine in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this review, we survey the role of Chinese medicinal herbal products in regulating miRNAs in cancer and the use of mediating miRNAs for cancer treatment. In addition, the controversial roles of herb-derived exogenous miRNAs in cancer treatment are also discussed. It is expected that targeting miRNAs would provide a novel therapeutic approach in cancer therapy by improving overall response and survival outcomes in cancer treatment, especially when combined with conventional therapeutics and Chinese medicinal herbal products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1657
Number of pages15
JournalCancers
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

User-Defined Keywords

  • microRNAs
  • Chinese medicinal herbs
  • cancer therapy
  • exogenous microRNAs

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