MicroRNAs are post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression with tissue-specific expression profiles. Dysregulation
of microRNAs has been shown to play a role in carcinogenesis. Although progress has been made in the diagnosis
and treatment of many cancers, pancreatic cancer remains an intractable public health problem, causing 6.58% of
cancer deaths despite making up less than 3% of cancer diagnoses in the United States. No screening, diagnostic or imaging
techniques exist with the sensitivity to detect pancreatic cancer in its early, operable stages. Risk factors include numerous
inherited syndromes, diabetes mellitus, and hepatitis C virus infection. Here we review the literature regarding
dysregulation of microRNA expression in native pancreas, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (the dominant form of pancreatic
cancer), and its risk factors to illuminate the biology and progression of this disease. We explore promising evidence
for the use of microRNAs as prognostic and diagnostic tools, and discuss emerging reports on microRNA therapeutics.
Keywords: Biomarker, microRNA, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, carcinogenesis, malignancy, asymptomatic, papillary, serum, Endocrine.
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