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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / physiology*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding