m 6 A Modification in Coding and Non-coding RNAs: Roles and Therapeutic Implications in Cancer

Cancer Cell. 2020 Mar 16;37(3):270-288. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2020.02.004.


N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification has emerged in recent years as a new layer of regulatory mechanism controlling gene expression in eukaryotes. As a reversible epigenetic modification found not only in messenger RNAs but also in non-coding RNAs, m6A affects the fate of the modified RNA molecules and plays important roles in almost all vital bioprocesses, including cancer development. Here we review the up-to-date knowledge of the pathological roles and underlying molecular mechanism of m6A modifications (in both coding and non-coding RNAs) in cancer pathogenesis and drug response/resistance, and discuss the therapeutic potential of targeting m6A regulators for cancer therapy.

Keywords: N(6)-methyladenosine (m(6)A); RNA modification; cancer epigenetics; cancer stem cells; drug resistance; epitranscriptome; immune therapy; non-coding RNA; prognosis; targeted therapeutics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine / genetics
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • RNA, Messenger* / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger* / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • N6-methyladenosine (m6A)
  • Adenosine