CircRNA: functions and properties of a novel potential biomarker for cancer

Mol Cancer. 2017 May 23;16(1):94. doi: 10.1186/s12943-017-0663-2.


Circular RNAs, a novel class of endogenous noncoding RNAs, are characterized by their covalently closed loop structures without a 5' cap or a 3' Poly A tail. Although the mechanisms of circular RNAs' generation and function are not fully clear, recent research has shown that circular RNAs may function as potential molecular markers for disease diagnosis and treatment and play an important role in the initiation and progression of human diseases, especially in tumours. This review summarizes some information about categories, biogenesis, functions at the molecular level, properties of circular RNAs and the possibility of circular RNAs as biomarkers in cancers.

Keywords: Biomarker; Non-coding RNA; Tumour; circRNA; microRNA sponge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm*
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA