Background: The microRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding single-stranded RNAs typically 19–25 nucleotides long and regulated by cellular and epigenetic factors. These miRNAs plays important part in several pathways necessary for cancer development, an altered miRNA expression can be oncogenic or tumor-suppressive. Recent experimental results on miRNA have illuminated a different perspective of the molecular pathogenesis of head and neck cancers. Regulation of miRNA can have a detrimental effect on the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs in both neoadjuvant and adjuvant settings. This miRNA-induced chemoresistance can influence the prognosis and survival rate. The focus of the study is on how regulations of various miRNA levels contribute to chemoresistance in head and neck cancer (HNC). Recent findings suggest that up or down-regulation of miRNAs may lead to resistance towards various chemotherapeutic drugs, which may influence the prognosis.
Methods: Studies on miRNA-specific chemoresistance in HNC were collected through literary (bibliographic) databases, including SCOPUS, PubMed, Nature, Elsevier, etc., and were systematically reviewed following PRISMA-P guidelines (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocol). We evaluated various miRNAs, their up and downregulation, the effect of altered regulation on the patient’s prognosis, resistant cell lines, etc. The data evaluated will be represented in the form of a review and meta-analysis.
Discussion: This meta-analysis aims to explore the miRNA-induced chemoresistance in HNC and thus to aid further researches on this topic. PROSPERO registration: CRD42018104657.