Small noncoding RNAs that are 19-23 nucleotides long, known as microRNAs (miRNAs), are involved in almost all biological mechanisms during carcinogenesis. Recent studies show that miRNAs released from live cells are detectable in body fluids and may be taken up by other cells to confer cell-cell communication. These released miRNAs (here referred to as extracellular miRNAs) are often protected by RNA-binding proteins or embedded inside circulating microvesicles. Due to their relative stability, extracellular miRNAs are believed to be promising candidates as biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of disease, or even as therapeutic agents for targeted treatment. In this review, we first describe biogenesis and characteristics of these miRNAs. We then summarize recent publications involving extracellular miRNA profiling studies in three representative urologic cancers, including: prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and renal cell carcinoma. We focus on the diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic potential of these miRNAs in biological fluids, such as serum, plasma, and urine. Finally, we discuss advantages and challenges of these miRNAs in clinical applications.