The role of microRNAs in metal carcinogen-induced cell malignant transformation and tumorigenesis

Brock Humphries, Zhishan Wang, Chengfeng Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs), an important component of epigenetic mechanisms of carcinogenesis, have been shown to play crucial roles in cancer initiation, metastasis, prognosis and responses to drug treatment and may serve as biomarkers for early diagnosis of cancer and tools for cancer therapy. Metal carcinogens, such as arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and nickel, are well-established human carcinogens causing various cancers upon long term exposure. However, the mechanism of metal carcinogenesis has not been well understood, which limits our capability to effectively diagnose and treat human cancers resulting from chronic metal carcinogen exposure. Over recent years, the role of miRNAs in metal carcinogenesis has been actively explored and a growing body of evidence indicates the critical involvement of miRNAs in metal carcinogenesis. This review aims to discuss recent studies showing that miRNAs play important roles in metal carcinogen-induced cell malignant transformation and tumorigenesis. Some thoughts for future further studies in this field are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [R01ES017777 to C.Y.].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Epigenetics
  • Metal
  • Metal carcinogenesis
  • MicroRNA (miRNA)
  • Nickel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of microRNAs in metal carcinogen-induced cell malignant transformation and tumorigenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this