Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Oncol. Jan 15, 2016; 8(1): 121-127
Published online Jan 15, 2016. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v8.i1.121
Role of microRNA-7 in digestive system malignancy
Wan-Qun Chen, Ling Hu, Geng-Xin Chen, Hai-Xia Deng
Wan-Qun Chen, Hai-Xia Deng, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong Province, China
Wan-Qun Chen, Ling Hu, Institute of Gastroenterology, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510004, Guangdong Province, China
Geng-Xin Chen, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Clinical Research on Traditional Chinese Medicine Syndrome, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong Province, China
Author contributions: Chen WQ wrote and reviewed the manuscript; Hu L assisted in revising the manuscript; Deng HX contributed to the concept, design and editing of this manuscript; Chen GX and Deng HX contributed equally to this work.
Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81273735; Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China, No. 2013B021800169; Traditional Chinese Medicine Science and Technology Research Projects of Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, China, No. YN2014ZH05.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest in this work.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Hai-Xia Deng, MD, PhD, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, No. 111 Dade Road, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong Province, China.
Telephone: +86-20-81887233 Fax: +86-20-81887233
Received: April 14, 2015
Peer-review started: April 16, 2015
First decision: June 19, 2015
Revised: July 3, 2015
Accepted: August 29, 2015
Article in press: November 19, 2015
Published online: January 15, 2016

There are several malignancies of the digestive system (including gastric, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, and hepatocellular carcinoma), which are the most common types of cancer and a major cause of death worldwide. MicroRNA (miR)-7 is abundant in the pancreas, playing an important role in pancreatic development and endocrine function. Expression of miR-7 is downregulated in digestive system malignancies compared with normal tissue. Although there are contrasting results for miR-7 expression, almost all research reveals that miR-7 is a tumor suppressor, by targeting various genes in specific pathways. Moreover, miR-7 can target different genes simultaneously in different malignancies of the digestive system. By acting on many cytokines, miR-7 is also involved in many gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases as a significant carcinogenic factor. Consequently, miR-7 might be a biomarker or therapeutic target gene in digestive system malignancies.

Keywords: MicroRNA-7, Digestive system malignancy, Tumor biomarker, Target gene, Inflammation

Core tip: MicroRNA (miR)-7 targets different genes in various complicated pathways and plays diagnostic, prognostic, anti-metastatic, and therapeutic roles in digestive system malignancies. MiR-7 might be a biomarker or therapeutic target gene in digestive system malignancies, even in the precancerous lesions (inflammatory disease).