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Long Noncoding RNAs and Cancer

  1. Ramiro Garzon,
  2. Parvathi Ranganathan

Published Online: 16 JUN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0025252



How to Cite

Garzon, R. and Ranganathan, P. 2014. Long Noncoding RNAs and Cancer. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 JUN 2014


Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), products of pervasive transcription of the human genome, have emerged as important epigenetic regulators of cancer development and progression. LncRNAs, with transcript size ranging from 200 bp to 100 Kb, perform a diverse array of biological roles including chromatin modification, pre- and post-transcriptional regulation, control of cell division, cell-cycle growth and proliferation and imprinting. They exhibit cell-specific expression patterns as well as restricted subcellular distribution, and have shown to play a role in multiple cancers such as cancers of the breast, pancreas, liver, lung and colon. Owing to the role they play in cancer initiation and progression, they have emerged as a new class of prognostic indicators, markers of chemotherapy response and finally show promise as targeted therapy against cancer. This article explores the characteristics of lncRNAs, function and association with multiple cancers and highlights the recent progress made on these new molecules especially with respect to cancer.

Key Concepts:

  • Long noncoding RNAs are a new class of epigenetic regulatory molecules that are actively transcribed from the human genome.

  • Involved in multiple biological functions including imprinting, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, cell growth, proliferation and differentiation.

  • Dysregulation of lncRNA observed in multiple cancer types, involved in cancer progression and metastasis.

  • LncRNAs can serve as biomarkers, prognostic indicators and predictors of chemotherapy response.

  • Attractive targets for a new group of targeted therapy.


  • long noncoding RNAs;
  • epigenetic regulation;
  • chromatin remodelling;
  • cancer initiation and progression;
  • biomarkers;
  • targeted therapy