Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive malignancy with increasing incidence and high mortality. Surgical resection is the only potentially curative treatment of patients with PDAC. Because of the late presentation of the disease, about 20 percent of patients are candidates for this treatment. The average survival of resected patients is between 12 and 20 months, with a high probability of relapse. Standard chemo and radiation therapies do not offer significant improvement of the survival of these patients. Furthermore, novel treatment options aimed at targeting oncogenes or growth factors in pancreatic cancer have proved unsuccessful. Thereby, identifying new biomarkers that can detect early stages of this disease is of critical importance. Among these biomarkers, microRNAs (miRNAs) have supplied a profitable recourse and become an attractive focus of research in PDAC. MiRNAs regulate many genes involved in the development of PDAC through mRNA degradation or translation inhibition. The possibility of intervention in the molecular mechanisms of miRNAs regulation could begin a new generation of PDAC therapies. This review summarizes the reports describing miRNAs involvement in cellular processes involving pancreatic carcinogenesis and their utility in diagnosis, survival and therapeutic potential in pancreatic cancer.
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