1. Department of Pathology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
2. Department of Oncology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
Pancreatic cancer remains the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the US and is expected to be the second leading cause of cancer-related death by 2030. Therefore, it is important to better understand the molecular pathogenesis, phenotypes and features of pancreatic cancer in order to design novel molecularly targeted therapies for achieving better therapeutic outcome of patients with pancreatic cancer. Recently, the roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer became a hot topic in the scientific community of pancreatic cancer research. By conducting miRNA expression profiling, the aberrant expression of miRNAs was revealed in the serum and in cancer tissues from patients with pancreatic cancer. These aberrantly expressed miRNAs are critically correlated with the disease stage, drug resistance, and survival of pancreatic cancer patients. Hence, targeting these tiny molecules, the specific miRNAs, could provide an efficient and optimal approach in the therapy of pancreatic cancer. Indeed, the pre-clinical and in vivo experiments showed that nanoparticle delivery of synthetic oligonucleotides or treatment with natural agents could be useful to modulate the expression of miRNAs and thereby inhibit pancreatic cancer growth and progression, suggesting that targeting miRNAs combined with conventional anti-cancer therapeutics could be a novel therapeutic strategy for increasing drug sensitivity and achieving better therapeutic outcome of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: pancreatic cancer, tumor suppressive miRNA, oncogenic miRNA, carcinogenesis, cancer progression, natural agents, nanoparticle delivery