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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 9797410, 10 pages
Review Article

The Emerging Role of miRNAs and Their Clinical Implication in Biliary Tract Cancer

1Núcleo de Pesquisas em Oncologia, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil
2Laboratório de Citogenética Humana, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil
3Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 22 July 2016; Revised 7 October 2016; Accepted 4 December 2016

Academic Editor: Mario Scartozzi

Copyright © 2016 Nina Nayara Ferreira Martins 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 cancers are aggressive malignancies that include gallbladder cancer and tumors of intra- and extrahepatic ducts and have a poor prognosis. Surgical resection remains the main curative therapy. Nevertheless, numerous patients experience recurrence even after radical surgery. This scenario drives the research to identify biliary tract cancer biomarkers despite the limited progress that has been made. Recently, a large number of studies have demonstrated that deregulated expression of microRNAs is closely associated with cancer development and progression. In this review, we highlight the role and importance of microRNAs in biliary tract cancers with an emphasis on utilizing circulating microRNAs as potential biomarkers. Additionally, we report several single-nucleotide polymorphisms in microRNA genes that are associated with the susceptibility of biliary tract tumors.