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Small and Long Non-Coding RNAs: Novel Targets in Perspective Cancer Therapy

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 5 ]


Chi Han Li and Yangchao Chen   Pages 319 - 326 ( 8 )


Non-coding RNA refers to a large group of endogenous RNA molecules that have no protein coding capacity, while having specialized cellular and molecular functions. They possess wide range of functions such as the regulation of gene transcription and translation, post-transcriptional modification, epigenetic landscape establishment, protein scaffolding and cofactors recruitments. They are further divided into small non-coding RNAs with size < 200nt (e.g. miRNA, piRNA) and long non-coding RNAs with size >= 200nt (e.g. lincRNA, NAT). Increasing evidences suggest that both non-coding RNAs groups play important roles in cancer development, progression and pathology. Clinically, non-coding RNAs aberrations show high diagnostic and prognostic values. With improved understanding of the nature and roles of non-coding RNAs, it is believed that we can develop therapeutic treatment against cancer via the modulation of these RNA molecules. Advances in nucleic acid drug technology and computational simulation prompt the development of agents to intervene the malignant effects of non-coding RNAs. In this review, we will discuss the role of non-coding RNAs in cancer, and evaluate the potential of non-coding RNA-based cancer therapies.


Cancer, microRNA, piRNA, Long non-coding RNA, Therapeutic target, Epigenetics, RNA interference, Nucleic acid drug.


School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong.

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