A tiny piece of RNA can spell big trouble for some colon cancer patients.
Colon cancer patients who have high levels of a microRNA called miR-21 in their tumors don't respond well to standard chemotherapy and have poor prognoses, a new study shows.
MicroRNAs are short pieces of genetic material that help regulate the production of proteins from the recipes encoded in genes. MicroRNAs latch on to protein-coding messages, usually disrupting protein production. About 5 years ago, researchers discovered that disturbances in microRNA levels are associated with cancer.