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Functional microRNA binding site variants


Germline single nucleotide polymorphisms are one of the most common genetic variations. Polymorphisms that cause nonsynonymous mutations in gene coding regions are known to cause serious deleterious downstream effects. However, even polymorphisms in noncoding regions can have profound functional consequences by disrupting essential regulatory sites. Specifically, polymorphisms that alter microRNA binding sites can disrupt the regulation of hallmark biological pathways implicated in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Many of these microRNA-associated polymorphisms (miR-SNPs) have recently been shown to be important biomarkers of cancer risk, prognosis, and treatment outcomes. This review will summarize the functional impact of key miR-SNPs and define a subset of miR-SNPs that may be clinically useful prognostic or predictive biomarkers.

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