Lifestyle Factors and MicroRNAs: A New Paradigm in Cancer Chemoprevention
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are characterized as small RNA molecules that modulate gene transcription in a posttranslational manner. Functionally, miRNAs play important roles in a diverse number of biological processes, including cell development, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. Consequently, changes in the expression pattern of miRNAs have been associated with multiple human pathologies, including cancer. Based on these alterations, distinct miRNAs can be utilized as markers for cancer risk evaluation or used in tumour detection. Recent evidence has indicated that lifestyle factors, such as nutrition, physical activity, and glycemic control provide health benefits through regulation of miRNA expression. In this review, we provide a concise overview of miRNA regulation, biosynthesis, and their expression patterns in normal and malignant tissue. We then summarize the emerging knowledge of how lifestyle factors, including nutrients, exercise, and hypoglycemic agents modify miRNAs and are involved in cancer prevention. Finally, we conclude by providing recommendation for future investigations into novel agents that can modulate miRNAs and act as chemotherapeutic agents against cancer.
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