A functional screen identifies miRNAs that inhibit DNA repair and sensitize prostate cancer cells to ionizing radiation
Radiotherapy is one of the most important treatment options for localized early-stage or advanced-stage prostate cancer (CaP). Radioresistance (relapse after radiotherapy) is a major challenge for the current radiotherapy. There is great interest in investigating mechanisms of radioresistance and developing novel treatment strategies to overcome radioresistance. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level, participating in numerous physiological and pathological processes including cancer invasion, progression, metastasis and therapeutic resistance. Emerging evidence indicates that miRNAs play a critical role in the modulation of key cellular pathways that mediate response to radiation, influencing the radiosensitivity of the cancer cells through interplaying with other biological processes such as cell cycle checkpoints, apoptosis, autophagy, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells. Here, we summarize several important miRNAs in CaP radiation response and then discuss the regulation of the major signalling pathways and biological processes by miRNAs in CaP radiotherapy. Finally, we emphasize on microRNAs as potential predictive biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets to improve CaP radiosensitivity.