Ovarian cancer causes more than 100,000 deaths globally per year. Despite intensive research efforts, there has been little improvement in the overall survival of patients over the past three decades. Most patients are not diagnosed until the cancer is at an advanced stage, by which time their chances of still being alive after 5 years are appallingly low. Attempts to extend life in these patients have been, for the most part, unsuccessful. This owes partly to the lack of suitable biomarkers for stratifying patients at the molecular level, into responders and non-responders. This would lead to more drugs being shown to have a clinical benefit and being approved for use in subgroups of patients. There is also a desperate need for improved biomarkers for earlier detection of ovarian cancer; if the disease is detected sooner there is a significantly improved outlook. In this review, we outline the evidence that microRNAs are deregulated in ovarian cancer, what this can tell us about tumour progression and how it could be used to improve patient stratification in clinical trials. We also describe the potential for circulating microRNAs, both associated with proteins or carried in vesicles, to be used as diagnostics for earlier detection or as biomarkers for informing clinicians on the prognosis and best treatment of ovarian cancer.
Samuel, PriyaCarter, David Raul Francisco
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-02-16