JOURNAL ARTICLE
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MicroRNAs as biomarkers in pituitary tumors

Antonio Di Ieva, Henriett Butz, Marzia Niamah, Fabio Rotondo, Salvatore De Rosa, Aydin Sav, George M Yousef, Kalman Kovacs, Michael D Cusimano
Neurosurgery 2014, 75 (2): 181-9; discussion 188-9
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The use of extracellular microRNAs (miRNAs) as circulating biomarkers is currently leading to relevant advances in the diagnosis and assessment of prognosis of several diseases. Specific miRNAs have also been shown to play a role in the pathophysiology of many neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases. A number of studies have demonstrated that miRNAs show differential expression in various tumors, such as in the prostate, ovary, lung, breast, brain, and pituitary. Recent findings have built connections between miRNAs that are deregulated within the tumor and their presence in peripheral blood. MiRNAs have been shown to be stable in the blood where they are present in either free and/or uncomplexed form, as well as packed in microvesicles, exosomes, and apoptotic bodies, or bound to different proteins. Because the pituitary is a highly vascularized organ that releases hormones into the circulation, miRNAs would be useful biomarkers for the diagnosis of pituitary tumors, as well as for predicting or detecting recurrence after surgery. Here we review the biological significance of miRNAs in pituitary tumors and the potential value of circulating miRNAs as biomarkers.

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