UBC Faculty Research and Publications

MicroRNAs in Pancreatic Cancer: biomarkers, prognostic, and therapeutic modulators Daoud, Afra Z; Mulholland, Eoghan J; Cole, Grace; McCarthy, Helen O


A severe lack of early diagnosis coupled with resistance to most available therapeutic options renders pancreatic cancer as a major clinical concern. The limited efficacy of current treatments necessitates the development of novel therapeutic strategies that are based on an understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in pancreatic cancer progression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding small RNAs that regulate the expression of multiple proteins in the post-translation process and thus have promise as biomarkers, prognostic agents, and as advanced pancreatic therapies. Profiling of deregulated miRNAs in pancreatic cancer can correlate to diagnosis, indicate optimal treatment and predict response to therapy. Furthermore, understanding the main effector genes in pancreatic cancer along with downstream pathways can identify possible miRNAs as therapeutic candidates. Additionally, obstacles to the translation of miRNAs into the clinic are also considered. Distinct miRNA expression profiles can correlate to stages of malignant pancreatic disease, and hold potential as biomarkers, prognostic markers and clinical targets. However, a limited understanding and validation of the specific role of such miRNAs stunts clinical application. Target prediction using algorithms provides a wide range of possible targets, but these miRNAs still require validation through pre-clinical studies to determine the knock-on genetic effects.

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