Background: The prognostic impact of microRNA (miRNA) expression levels in pancreatic cancer (PC) has been estimated for years, but the outcomes are controversial and heterogeneous. Therefore, we comprehensively reviewed the evidence collected on miRNA expression in PC to determine this effect.

Results: PC patients with high miR-21 (HR=2.61, 95%CI=1.68-4.04), miR-451a (HR=2.23, 95%CI=1.23-4.04) or miR-1290 (HR=1.43, 95%CI=1.04-1.95) levels in blood had significantly poorer OS (P<0.05). Furthermore, PC patients with high miR-10b (HR=1.73, 95%CI=1.09-2.76), miR-17-5p (HR=1.91, 95%CI=1.30-2.80), miR-21 (HR=1.90, 95%CI=1.61-2.25), miR-23a (HR=2.18, 95%CI=1.52-3.13), miR-155 (HR=2.22, 95%CI=1.27-3.88), miR-203 (HR=1.65, 95%CI=1.14-2.40), miR-221 (HR=1.72, 95%CI=1.08-2.74), miR-222 levels (HR=1.72, 95%CI=1.02-2.91) or low miR-29c (HR=1.39, 95%CI=1.08-1.79), miR-126 (HR=1.55, 95%CI=1.23-1.95), miR-218 (HR=2.62, 95%CI=1.41-4.88) levels in tissues had significantly shorter OS (P<0.05).

Conclusions: In summary, blood miR-21, miR-451a, miR-1290 and tissue miR-10b, miR-17-5p, miR-21, miR-23a, miR-29c, miR-126, miR-155, miR-203, miR-218, miR-221, miR-222 had significant prognostic value.

Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to recognize eligible studies, and 57 studies comprising 5445 PC patients and 15 miRNAs were included to evaluate the associations between miRNA expression levels and overall survival (OS) up to June 1, 2019. Summary hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to assess the effect.