Long Non-Coding RNAs as New Master Regulators of Resistance to Systemic Treatments in Breast Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Sep 11;19(9):2711. doi: 10.3390/ijms19092711.


Predicting response to systemic treatments in breast cancer (BC) patients is an urgent, yet still unattained health aim. Easily detectable molecules such as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are the ideal biomarkers when they act as master regulators of many resistance mechanisms, or of mechanisms that are common to more than one treatment. These kinds of markers are pivotal in quasi-personalized treatment selection, and consequently, in improvement of outcome prediction. In order to provide a better approach to understanding development of disease and resistance to treatments, we reviewed current literature searching for lncRNA-associated systemic BC treatments including endocrine therapies, aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), trastuzumab, paclitaxel, docetaxel, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), anthracyclines, and cisplatin. We found that the engagement of lncRNAs in resistance is well described, and that lncRNAs such as urotelial carcinoma-associated 1 (UCA1) and regulator of reprogramming (ROR) are indeed involved in multiple resistance mechanisms, which offers tantalizing perspectives for wide usage of lncRNAs as treatment resistance biomarkers. Thus, we propose this work as the foundation for a wide landscape of functions and mechanisms that link more lncRNAs to resistance to current and new treatments in years of research to come.

Keywords: breast cancer; lncRNAs; systemic treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast / drug effects
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • RNA, Long Noncoding