MicroRNAs as Innovative Biomarkers for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Prediction of Colorectal Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 20;23(14):7991. doi: 10.3390/ijms23147991.


Letizia Masi 1Ivan Capobianco 2Carlotta Magrì 2Irene Marafini 3Valentina Petito 1Franco Scaldaferri 1 2


Author information

1Centro per le Malattie dell'Apparato Digerente (CEMAD), Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario "A. Gemelli" IRCCS, Largo A. Gemelli 8, 00168 Roma, Italy.

2Dipartimento Universitario di Medicina e Chirurgia Traslazionale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy.

3UOC Gastroenterologia ed Endoscopia Digestiva, Dipartimento di Medicina, Fondazione Policlinico Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00133 Roma, Italy.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). These are autoimmune diseases of the gastrointestinal tract with a chronic relapsing and remitting course. Due to complex interactions between multiple factors in the etiology of IBD, the discovery of new predictors of disease course and response to therapy, and the development of effective therapies is a significant challenge. The dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of conserved endogenous, small non-coding RNA molecules with a length of 18-25 nucleotides, that regulate gene expression by an RNA interference process, is implicated in the complex pathogenetic context of IBD. Both tissue-derived, circulating, and fecal microRNAs have been explored as promising biomarkers in the diagnosis and the prognosis of disease severity of IBD. In this review, we summarize the expressed miRNA profile in blood, mucosal tissue, and stool and highlight the role of miRNAs as biomarkers with potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Moreover, we discuss the new perspectives in developing a new screening model for the detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) based on fecal miRNAs.



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