A recent review of the knowledge about the potential clinical applications of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been published in the Central European Journal of Urology. Specific biomarkers for the early detection and monitoring of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) would enable early diagnosis of the disease. A non-invasive and sensitive biomarker would also be extremely useful for the detection of relapse of the disease following nephrectomy.

MicroRNAs are involved in a number of essential cell processes, such as proliferation, differentiation, development and death. Some miRNAs have been identified that promote RCC development (oncomirs), while others suppress the growth and spread of tumours (anti-oncomirs), and thus could be considered as potential treatments for RCC. MicroRNAs have been identified that enable the early detection of the disease, predict response to systemic therapy, or predict the outcome of the disease.

Analysis of the miRNA network together with gene profiling may help with the diagnosis of RCC, and to predict poor disease outcomes and poor treatment response in patients who receive systemic therapy.

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