MicroRNAs and drug resistance in prostate cancers

Feng Li, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in American men. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is used to treat patients with aggressive prostate cancers. After androgen deprivation therapy, prostate cancers slowly progress to an androgen-independent status. Taxanes (e.g., docetaxel) are used as standard treatments for androgen-independent prostate cancers. However, these chemotherapeutic agents will eventually become ineffective due to the development of drug resistance. A microRNA (miRNA) is a small noncoding RNA molecule, which can regulate gene expression at the post-transcription level. miRNAs elicit their effects by binding to the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of their target mRNAs, leading to the inhibition of translation or the degradation of the mRNAs. miRNAs have received increasing attention as targets for cancer therapy, as they can target multiple signaling pathways related to tumor progression, metastasis, invasion, and chemoresistance. Emerging evidence suggests that aberrant expression of miRNAs can lead to the development of resistant prostate cancers. Here, we discuss the roles of miRNAs in the development of resistant prostate cancers and their involvement in various drug resistant mechanisms including androgen signaling, apoptosis avoidance, multiple drug resistance (MDR) transporters, epithelialmesenchymal transition (EMT), and cancer stem cells (CSCs). In addition, we also discuss strategies for treating resistant prostate cancers by targeting specific miRNAs. Different delivery strategies are also discussed with focus on those that have been successfully used in human clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2539-2552
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 4 2014


  • MDR transporters
  • androgen resistance
  • apoptosis
  • cancer stem cells
  • chemoresistance
  • delivery systems
  • epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)
  • miRNA
  • prostate cancers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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