miRNAs are key regulators of gene expression, and alterations in their expression levels correlate with the onset and progression of cancer. Although miRNAs have been proposed as biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, their application in routine clinical praxis is yet to come. Current quantification strategies have limitation, and there is a great interest in developing innovative ones. Since a few years, nanotechnology-based approaches for miRNA quantification are emerging at fast pace but there is urgent need to go beyond the proof-of-concept stage. Nanotechnology will have a strong impact on cancer diagnosis through miRNA detection only if it is demonstrated that the newly developed approaches are indeed working on ‘real-world’ samples under standardized conditions.
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