Genomic alterations as mediators of miRNA dysregulation in ovarian cancer

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Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide. Serous epithelial ovarian cancer (SEOC) is the most common and aggressive histological subtype. Widespread genomic alterations go hand-in-hand with aberrant DNA damage signaling and are a hallmark of high-grade SEOC. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small noncoding RNA molecules that are nonrandomly distributed in the genome. They are frequently located in chromosomal regions susceptible to copy number variation (CNV) associated with malignancy that can influence their expression. Widespread changes in miRNA expression have been reported in multiple cancer types including ovarian cancer. This review examines CNV and single nucleotide polymorphisms, two common types of genomic alterations that occur in ovarian cancer, in the context of their influence on the expression of miRNA and the ability of miRNA to bind to and regulate their target genes. This includes genes encoding proteins involved in DNA repair and the maintenance of genomic stability. Improved understanding of mechanisms of miRNA dysregulation and the role of miRNA in ovarian cancer will provide further insight into the pathogenesis and treatment of this disease. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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