MicroRNA in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and its precursor lesions

Yasmin G. Hernandez, Aimee L. Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the 4th deadliest cancer in the United States, due to its aggressive nature, late detection, and resistance to chemotherapy. The majority of PDAC develops from 3 precursor lesions, pancreatic intraepithelial lesions (PanIN), intraductual papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN), and mucinous cystic neoplasm. Early detection and surgical resection can increase PDAC 5-year survival rate from 6% for Stage Ⅳ to 50% for StageⅠ. To date, there are no reliable biomarkers that can detect PDAC. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small noncoding RNAs (18-25 nucleotides) that regulate gene expression by affecting translation of messenger RNA (mRNA). A large body of evidence suggests that miRNAs are dysregulated in various types of cancers. MiRNA has been profiled as a potential biomarker in pancreatic tumor tissue, blood, cyst fluid, stool, and saliva. Four miRNA biomarkers (miR-21, miR-155, miR-196, and miR-210) have been consistently dysregulated in PDAC. MiR-21, miR-155, and miR-196 have also been dysregulated in IPMN and PanIN lesions suggesting their use as early biomarkers of this disease. In this review, we explore current knowledge of miRNA sampling, miRNA dysregulation in PDAC and its precursor lesions, and advances that have been made in using miRNA as a biomarker for PDAC and its precursor lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2016


  • Biomarkers
  • Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm
  • MicroRNA
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic intraepithelial lesions


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