MicroRNA-Regulated Signaling Pathways: Potential Biomarkers for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Maria Mortoglou, David Wallace, Aleksandra Buha Djordjevic, Vladimir Djordjevic, E. Damla Arisan, Pinar Uysal-Onganer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most aggressive and invasive type of pancreatic cancer (PCa) and is expected to be the second most common cause of cancer-associated deaths. The high mortality rate is due to the asymptomatic progression of the clinical features until the advanced stages of the disease and the limited effectiveness of the current therapeutics. Aberrant expression of several microRNAs (miRs/miRNAs) has been related to PDAC progression and thus they could be potential early diagnostic, prognostic, and/or therapeutic predictors for PDAC. miRs are small (18 to 24 nucleotides long) non-coding RNAs, which regulate the expression of key genes by targeting their 3′-untranslated mRNA region. Increased evidence has also suggested that the chemoresistance of PDAC cells is associated with metabolic alterations. Metabolic stress and the dysfunctionality of systems to compensate for the altered metabolic status of PDAC cells is the foundation for cellular damage. Current data have implicated multiple systems as hallmarks of PDAC development, such as glutamine redox imbalance, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Hence, both the aberrant expression of miRs and dysregulation in metabolism can have unfavorable effects in several biological processes, such as apoptosis, cell proliferation, growth, survival, stress response, angiogenesis, chemoresistance, invasion, and migration. Therefore, due to these dismal statistics, it is crucial to develop beneficial therapeutic strategies based on an improved understanding of the biology of both miRs and metabolic mediators. This review focuses on miR-mediated pathways and therapeutic resistance mechanisms in PDAC and evaluates the impact of metabolic alterations in the progression of PDAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • cancer
  • cell signaling pathways
  • metabolic stress
  • microRNAs


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