MicroRNA-gene signaling pathways in pancreatic cancer

Biomed J. 2013 Sep-Oct;36(5):200-8. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.119690.


Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths and is characterized by early metastasis and pronounced resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Despite extensive esearch efforts, there is not any substantial progress regarding the identification of novel drugs against pancreatic cancer. Although the introduction of the chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine improved clinical response, the prognosis of these patients remained extremely poor with a 5-year survival rate of 3-5%. Thus, the identification of the novel molecular pathways involved in pancreatic oncogenesis and the development of new and potent therapeutic options are highly desirable. Here, we describe how microRNAs control signaling pathways that are frequently deregulated during pancreatic oncogenesis. In addition, we provide evidence that microRNAs could be potentially used as novel pancreatic cancer therapeutics through reversal of chemotherapy and radiotherapy resistance or regulation of essential molecular pathways. Further studies should integrate the deregulated genes and microRNAs into molecular networks in order to identify the central regulators of pancreatic oncogenesis. Targeting these central regulators could lead to the development of novel targeted therapeutic approaches for pancreatic cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / therapeutic use*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • MicroRNAs