circRNAs in Cancer

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2018 Feb:48:121-127. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2017.11.007. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Exonic circular RNAs (circRNAs) are mostly generated from exons of protein-coding genes and, in many cases, are more abundant that the linear product from their hosting gene. Certain circRNAs are very abundant in the brain and in non-dividing cells; and many also show physiological-specific and tissue-specific expression. Moreover, recent work has demonstrated that some circRNAs are functional. Lately an important number of research articles have pointed a relation between cancer and certain circRNAs. In this review, we describe general advances in the field regarding circRNA biogenesis and functions in relationship with cancer. Also, we summarize some necessary precautions to work with circRNA that are particularly relevant to cancer-related studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA, Circular


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA