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RNA Biol. 2012 Jun;9(6):703-19. doi: 10.4161/rna.20481. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

The hallmarks of cancer: a long non-coding RNA point of view.

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Helmholtz-University-Group "Molecular RNA Biology & Cancer", German Cancer Research Center DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany.


With the advent of next generation sequencing methods and progress in transcriptome analysis, it became obvious that the human genome contains much more than just protein-coding genes. In fact, up to 70% of our genome is transcribed into RNA that does not serve as templates for proteins. In this review, we focus on the emerging roles of these long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the field of tumor biology. Long ncRNAs were found to be deregulated in several human cancers and show tissue-specific expression. Functional studies revealed a broad spectrum of mechanisms applied by lncRNAs such as HOTAIR, MALAT1, ANRIL or lincRNA-p21 to fulfill their functions. Here, we link the cellular processes influenced by long ncRNAs to the hallmarks of cancer and therefore provide an ncRNA point-of-view on tumor biology. This should stimulate new research directions and therapeutic options considering long ncRNAs as novel prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.

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