Biological and clinical relevance of metastasis-associated long noncoding RNAs in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: A systematic review

J Cell Physiol. 2020 Feb;235(2):848-868. doi: 10.1002/jcp.29083. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a foremost cancer-related death worldwide owing to rapid metastasis and poor prognosis. Metastasis, as the most important reason for death, is biologically a multifaceted process involving a range of cell signaling pathways. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), as transcriptional regulators, can regulate numerous genomic processes and cellular processes such as cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. LncRNAs have also been shown to involve in/regulate the cancer metastasis-related signaling pathways. Hence, they have increasingly been brought to international attention in molecular oncology research. A number of researchers have attempted to reveal the biological and clinical relevance of lncRNAs in ESCC tumourigenesis and metastasis. The aberrant expression of these molecules in ESCC has regularly been reported to involve in various cellular processes and clinical features, including diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic responses. Here, we especially consider the pathways in which lncRNAs act as metastasis-mediated effectors, mainly by interacting with epithelial-mesenchymal transition-associated factors. We review the biological roles of lncRNAs through involving in ESCC metastasis as well as the clinical significance of the metastasis-related lncRNAs in cancer diagnosis and prognosis.

Keywords: EMT; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; lncRNA; metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • RNA, Long Noncoding