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Trends Cancer. 2015 Oct 1;1(2):93-109.

Long noncoding RNAs in cancer: from function to translation.

Author information

1
Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. ; Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA.
2
Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. ; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA.
3
Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. ; Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. ; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. ; Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. ; Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA.

Abstract

While our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer has significantly improved, most of our knowledge focuses on protein-coding genes that make up a fraction of the genome. Recent studies have uncovered thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that populate the cancer genome. A subset of these molecules shows striking cancer- and lineage-specific expression patterns, suggesting they may be potential drivers of cancer biology and have utility as clinical biomarkers. Here, we discuss emerging modalities of lncRNA biology and their interplay with cancer-associated concepts, including epigenetic regulation, DNA damage and cell cycle control, microRNA silencing, signal transduction pathways, and hormone-driven disease. Additionally, we highlight the translational impact of lncRNAs, tools for their mechanistic investigation, and directions for future lncRNA research.

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