MicroRNAs in ovarian cancer and recent advances in the development of microRNA-based biosensors
Ovarian cancer is the most aggressive of all gynaecological malignancies and is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality worldwide. Over the recent years, there has been a sharp increase in this mortality rate, mostly due to late diagnosis, which can be attributed to the lack of an early and specific biomarker. Under this scenario, recent interest has shifted towards ovarian cancer associated miRNAs which play strong regulatory roles in various cellular processes. miRNAs have emerged as promising non/minimally invasive cancer biomarkers for improved diagnostic, prognostic and streamlined therapeutic applications. A large number of miRNA assays have been reported that are based on nucleic acid detection-based techniques such as RT-qPCR, microarrays and RNA sequencing methods. Despite demonstrating commendable analytical performances, these laboratory-based techniques are expensive and hence not ideally suited for routine use in resource-limited settings. In recent years, considerable attention has been dedicated to the development of relatively simple, rapid and inexpensive miRNA biosensor strategies. Among these, electrochemical sensors have shown a great promise towards point-of-care diagnostics, due to their inherent advantages such as simplicity, sensitivity, amenability to high levels of multiplexing as well as low cost. In this paper, we provide an overview of the potential role of miRNAs in ovarian cancer, as well as recent advances in the development of nanotechnology-based, optical, and electrochemical biosensing-strategies for miRNA detection.