Genes & Cancer

microRNAs targeting cellular cholesterol: implications for combating anticancer drug resistance

Bernice Monchusi1 and Mandeep Kaur1

1 School of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits, Johannesburg, South Africa


Mandeep Kaur, email:

Keywords: miRNAs, hsa-miR-128, hsa-miR-223, cholesterol, cancer drug resistance

Received: December 09, 2019 Accepted: May 08, 2020 Published: May 16, 2020


Over sixty percent of all mammalian protein-coding genes are estimated to be regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs), and unsurprisingly miRNA dysregulation has been linked with cancer. Aberrant miRNA expression in cancer cells has been linked with tumourigenesis and drug resistance. In the past decade, increasing number of studies have demonstrated that cholesterol accumulation fuels tumour growth and contributes to drug resistance, therefore, miRNAs controlling cholesterol metabolism and homeostasis are obvious hypothetical targets for investigating their role in cholesterol-mediated drug resistance in cancer. In this review, we have collated published evidences to consolidate this hypothesis and have scrutinized it by utilizing computational tools to explore the role of miRNAs in cholesterol-mediated drug resistance in breast cancer cells. We found that hsa-miR-128 and hsa-miR-223 regulate genes mediating lipid signalling and cholesterol metabolism, cancer drug resistance and breast cancer genes. The analysis demonstrates that targeting these miRNAs in cancer cells presents an opportunity for developing new strategies to combat anticancer drug resistance.

PII: 202