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Cancer Cell. 2007 Sep;12(3):215-29.

Ultraconserved regions encoding ncRNAs are altered in human leukemias and carcinomas.

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Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Noncoding RNA (ncRNA) transcripts are thought to be involved in human tumorigenesis. We report that a large fraction of genomic ultraconserved regions (UCRs) encode a particular set of ncRNAs whose expression is altered in human cancers. Genome-wide profiling revealed that UCRs have distinct signatures in human leukemias and carcinomas. UCRs are frequently located at fragile sites and genomic regions involved in cancers. We identified certain UCRs whose expression may be regulated by microRNAs abnormally expressed in human chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and we proved that the inhibition of an overexpressed UCR induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells. Our findings argue that ncRNAs and interaction between noncoding genes are involved in tumorigenesis to a greater extent than previously thought.

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