MicroRNA Expression Signatures During Malignant Progression From Barrett's Esophagus

Ajay Bansal, Vijayalaxmi Gupta, Kenneth Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The rapid increase and poor survival of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) have led to significant efforts to promote early detection. Given that the premalignant lesion of Barrett's esophagus (BE) is the major known risk factor for EAC, multiple investigators have studied biomarker signatures that can predict malignant progression of BE to EAC. MicroRNAs, a novel class of gene regulators, are small non-coding RNAs and have been associated with carcinogenesis. MicroRNAs are ideal biomarkers because of their remarkable stability in fixed tissues, a common method for collection of clinical specimens, and in blood either within exosomes or as microRNA-protein complexes. Multiple studies show potential of microRNAs as tissue and blood biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of EAC but the results need confirmation in prospective studies. Although head-to-head comparisons are lacking, microRNA panels require less genes than messenger RNA panels for diagnosis of EAC in BE. MicroRNA diagnostic panels will need to be compared for accuracy against global measures of genome instability that were recently shown to be good predictors of progression but require sophisticated analytic techniques. Early studies on blood microRNA panels are promising but have found microRNA markers to be inconsistent among studies. MicroRNA expression in blood is different between various microRNA sub-compartments such as exosomes and microRNA-protein complexes and could affect blood microRNA measurements. Further standardization is needed to yield consistent results. We have summarized the current understanding of the tissue and blood microRNA signatures that may predict the development and progression of EAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1295
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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