MicroRNAs (miRNAs) as biomarker(s) for prognosis and diagnosis of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers

Muzafar A Macha, Parthasarathy Seshacharyulu, Shiv Ram Krishn, Priya Pai, Satyanarayana Rachagani, Maneesh Jain, Surinder K. Batra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers remain one of the most common malignancies and are the second common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. The limited effectiveness of therapy for patients with advanced stage and recurrent disease is a reflection of an incomplete understanding of the molecular basis of GI carcinogenesis. Major advancements have improved our understanding of pathology and pathogenesis of GI cancers, but high mortality rates, unfavorable prognosis and lack of clinical predictive biomarkers provide an impetus to investigate new sensitive and specific diagnostic and prognostic markers for GI cancers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short (19-24 nucleotides) noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level thus playing an important role in modulating various biological processes including, but not limited to developmental processes, proliferation, apoptosis, metabolism, differentiation, epithelial-mechenchymal transition and are involved in the initiation and progression of various human cancers. Unique miRNA expression profiles have been observed in various cancer types at different stages, suggesting their potential as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Due to their tumor-specific and tissue-specific expression profiles, stability, robust clinical assays for detection in serum as well as in formalin-fixed tissue samples, miRNAs have emerged as attractive candidates for diagnostic and prognostic applications. This review summarizes recent research supporting the utility of miRNAs as novel diagnostic and prognostic tools for GI cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5287-5297
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number33
StatePublished - 2014


  • Diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • Prognosis
  • miRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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