Interplay between SOX9 transcription factor and microRNAs in cancer

Milad Ashrafizadeh, Ali Zarrabi, Sima Orouei, Amirhossein Zabolian, Hossein Saleki, Negar Azami, Atefe Kazemzade Bejandi, Sepideh Mirzaei, Milad Nemati Janaghard, Kiavash Hushmandi, Noushin Nabavi, Behzad Baradaran, Alan Prem Kumar, Pooyan Makvandi, Saeed Samarghandian, Haroon Khan, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


SOX transcription factors are critical regulators of development, homeostasis and disease progression and their dysregulation is a common finding in various cancers. SOX9 belongs to SOXE family located on chromosome 17. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) possess the capacity of regulating different transcription factors in cancer cells by binding to 3′-UTR. Since miRNAs can affect differentiation, migration, proliferation and other physiological mechanisms, disturbances in their expression have been associated with cancer development. In this review, we evaluate the relationship between miRNAs and SOX9 in different cancers to reveal how this interaction can affect proliferation, metastasis and therapy response of cancer cells. The tumor-suppressor miRNAs can decrease the expression of SOX9 by binding to the 3′-UTR of mRNAs. Furthermore, the expression of downstream targets of SOX9, such as c-Myc, Wnt, PI3K/Akt can be affected by miRNAs. It is noteworthy that other non-coding RNAs including lncRNAs and circRNAs regulate miRNA/SOX9 expression to promote/inhibit cancer progression and malignancy. The pre-clinical findings can be applied as biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-694
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021


  • Cancer
  • Circular RNA
  • Long non-coding RNA
  • MicroRNA
  • SOX9
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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