MicroRNAs (miRNAs) present several features that make them more difficult to analyze than DNA and RNA. For this reason, efforts have been made in recent years to develop innovative platforms for the efficient detection of microRNAs. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the sensing strategies able to deal with drawbacks and pitfalls related to microRNA detection. With a critical perspective of the field, we identify the main challenges to be overcome in microRNA sensing, and describe the areas where several innovative approaches are likely to come for managing those issues that put limits on improvement to the performances of the current methods. Then, in the following sections, we critically discuss the contribution of the most promising approaches based on the peculiar properties of nanomaterials or nanostructures and other hybrid strategies which are envisaged to support the adoption of these new methods useful for the detection of miRNA as biomarkers of practical clinical utility. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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