Micro-RNA in pancreatic adenocarcinoma: Predictive/prognostic biomarkers or therapeutic targets?

Oronzo Brunetti, Antonio Russo, Aldo Scarpa, Daniele Santini, Michele Reni, Alessandro Bittoni, Amalia Azzariti, Giuseppe Aprile, Sabina Delcuratolo, Michele Signorile, Antonio Gnoni, Loredana Palermo, Vito Lorusso, Stefano Cascinu, Nicola Silvestris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a tumor with a poor prognosis, short overall survival and few chemotherapeutic choices. Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding, single-stranded RNAs of around 22 nucleotides involved in the pathogenic mechanisms of carcinogenesis and metastasis. They have been studied in many tumors in order to identify potential diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic targets. In the current literature, many studies have analyzed the role of miRNAs in PDAC. In fact, the absence of appropriate biomarkers, the difficultly of early detection of this tumor, and the lack of effective chemotherapy in patients with unresectable disease have focused attention on miRNAs as new, interesting advance in this malignancy. In this review we analyzed the role of miRNAs in PDAC in order to understand the mechanisms of action and the difference between the onco-miRNA and the tumor suppressor miRNA. We also reviewed all the data related to the use of these molecules as predictive as well as prognostic biomarkers in the course of the disease. Finally, the possible therapeutic use of miRNAs or anti-miRNAs in PDAC is also discussed. In conclusion, although there is still no clinical application for these molecules in PDAC, it is our opinion that the preclinical evidence of the role of specific miRNAs in carcinogenesis, the possibility of using miRNAs as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers, and their potential therapeutic role, warrant future studies in PDAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23323-23341
Number of pages19
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Biomarkers
  • miRNAs
  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
  • Prognosis
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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