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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 4805270, 15 pages
Review Article

Deregulated MicroRNAs in Biliary Tract Cancer: Functional Targets and Potential Biomarkers

1Laboratory for Tumour Biology and Experimental Therapies (TREAT), Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
2Department of Internal Medicine I, Paracelsus Medical University/Salzburger Landeskliniken (SALK), Salzburg, Austria
3Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
4Institute of Pathology, Paracelsus Medical University/Salzburger Landeskliniken (SALK), Salzburg, Austria

Received 11 August 2016; Accepted 10 October 2016

Academic Editor: Franco M. Buonaguro

Copyright © 2016 Christian Mayr et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is still a fatal disease with very poor prognosis. The lack of reliable biomarkers for early diagnosis and of effective therapeutic targets is a major demanding problem in diagnosis and management of BTC. Due to the clinically silent and asymptomatic characteristics of the tumor, most patients are diagnosed at an already advanced stage allowing only for a palliative therapeutic approach. MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs well known to regulate various cellular functions and pathologic events including the formation and progression of cancer. Over the last years, several studies have shed light on the role of microRNAs in BTC, making them potentially attractive therapeutic targets and candidates as biomarkers. In this review, we will focus on the role of oncogenic and tumor suppressor microRNAs and their direct targets in BTC. Furthermore, we summarize and discuss data that evaluate the diagnostic power of deregulated microRNAs as possible future biomarkers for BTC.