MicroRNA Regulation of Brain Tumour Initiating Cells in Central Nervous System Tumours
CNS tumours occur in both pediatric and adult patients and many of these tumours are associated with poor clinical outcome. Due to a paradigm shift in thinking for the last several years, these tumours are now considered to originate from a small population of stem-like cells within the bulk tumour tissue. These cells, termed as brain tumour initiating cells (BTICs), are perceived to be regulated by microRNAs at the posttranscriptional/translational levels. Proliferation, stemness, differentiation, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, apoptosis, and cell cycle constitute some of the significant processes modulated by microRNAs in cancer initiation and progression. Characterization and functional studies on oncogenic or tumour suppressive microRNAs are made possible because of developments in sequencing and microarray techniques. In the current review, we bring recent knowledge of the role of microRNAs in BTIC formation and therapy. Special attention is paid to two highly aggressive and well-characterized brain tumours: gliomas and medulloblastoma. As microRNA seems to be altered in the pathogenesis of many human diseases, “microRNA therapy” may now have potential to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients. In this rapidly evolving field, further understanding of miRNA biology and its contribution towards cancer can be mined for new therapeutic tools.