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Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Oncol. Jan 15, 2016; 8(1): 18-29
Published online Jan 15, 2016. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v8.i1.18
MicroRNA in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and its precursor lesions
Yasmin G Hernandez, Aimee L Lucas
Yasmin G Hernandez, Department of Internal Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, United States
Aimee L Lucas, Henry Janowitz Division of Gastroenterology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, United States
Author contributions: Hernandez YG and Lucas AL wrote the paper.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Aimee L Lucas, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Henry Janowitz Division of Gastroenterology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave Levy Place, Box #1069, New York, NY 10029, United States.
Telephone: +1-212-2410101 Fax: +1-646-5379616
Received: April 29, 2015
Peer-review started: May 7, 2015
First decision: September 8, 2015
Revised: November 4, 2015
Accepted: December 1, 2015
Article in press: December 2, 2015
Published online: January 15, 2016

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 Stage I. 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.

Keywords: Pancreatic cancer, MicroRNA, Biomarkers, Pancreatic intraepithelial lesions, Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm

Core tip: Reliable biomarkers are needed to detect pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) early in order to decrease mortality. In this review, we discuss what the current knowledge is on microRNA (miRNA) in PDAC and its precursor lesions. MiR-21, miR-155, miR-196, miR-210 are dysregulated in tissue, serum, cyst fluid, and stool of PDAC patients. MiR-21, miR-155, and miR-196 are dysregulated in intraductual papillary mucinous neoplasm and pancreatic intraepithelial lesions demonstrating that these miRNAs may serve as potential biomarkers for early stage lesions and cancer.