Beyond microRNA--novel RNAs derived from small non-coding RNA and their implication in cancer

Cancer Lett. 2013 Nov 1;340(2):201-11. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.11.058. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


Over the recent years, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies targeting the microRNA transcriptome revealed the existence of many different RNA fragments derived from small RNA species other than microRNA. Although initially discarded as RNA turnover artifacts, accumulating evidence suggests that RNA fragments derived from small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA) are not just random degradation products but rather stable entities, which may have functional activity in the normal and malignant cell. This review summarizes new findings describing the detection and alterations in expression of snoRNA-derived (sdRNA) and tRNA-derived (tRF) RNAs. We focus on the possible interactions of sdRNAs and tRFs with the canonical microRNA pathways in the cell and present current hypotheses on the function of these RNAs.

Keywords: Cancer; Next generation sequencing; Non-coding RNA; microRNA; snoRNA-derived RNA (sdRNA); tRNA fragment (tRF).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genomics / methods
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phenotype
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Nucleolar / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / metabolism*
  • RNA, Transfer / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • RNA, Small Nucleolar
  • RNA, Small Untranslated
  • RNA, Transfer