Published online Feb 21, 2011. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i7.817
Revised: November 25, 2010
Accepted: December 2, 2010
Published online: February 21, 2011
Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is a lethal cancer for which the only chance of long-term survival belongs to the patient with localized disease in whom a potentially curative resection can be done. Therefore, biomarkers for early detection and new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. miRNAs are a recently discovered class of small endogenous non-coding RNAs of about 22 nucleotides that have gained attention for their role in downregulation of mRNA expression at the post-transcriptional level. miRNAs regulate proteins involved in critical cellular processes such as differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. Evidence suggests that deregulated miRNA expression is involved in carcinogenesis at many sites, including the pancreas. Aberrant expression of miRNAs may upregulate the expression of oncogenes or downregulate the expression of tumor suppressor genes, as well as play a role in other mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The purpose of this review is to summarize our knowledge of deregulated miRNA expression in pancreatic cancer and discuss the implication for potential translation of this knowledge into clinical practice.