Micrornas: Their role in metabolism, tumor microenvironment, and therapeutic implications in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Shine Gwo Shiah, Sung Tau Chou, Jang Yang Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNA molecules that negatively regulate gene expression by binding to target mRNAs. Deregulated miRNAs can act as either onco-genic miRNAs or tumor suppressor miRNAs in controlling proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, metastasis, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, and immune responses, which are all involved in the carcinogenesis process of HNSCC. Recent findings have shown that metabolic reprogramming is an important hallmark of cancer, which is necessary for malignant transformation and tumor development. Some reprogrammed metabolisms are believed to be required for HNSCC against an unfavorable tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME is composed of various cell types embedded in the altered extracellular matrix, among which exosomes, secreted by cancer cells, are one of the most important factors. Tumor-derived exosomes reshape the tumor microenvironment and play a crucial role in cell-to-cell communication during HNSCC development. Exosomes encapsulate many biomolecules, including miRNAs, circulate in body fluids, and can transmit intercellular regulatory messages to nearby and distant sites, which indicates that exosomal miRNAs have the potential to become non-invasive biomarkers. This review aims to clarify the functions of diverse miRNAs in HNSCC metabolic reprogramming and tumor-derived exosomes. In addition, it also emphasizes the potential role of miRNA as a biomarker in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of HNSCC cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5604
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Exosomes
  • Metabolism
  • MiRNA
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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