LncRNAs in Ovarian Cancer Progression, Metastasis, and Main Pathways: ceRNA and Alternative Mechanisms

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 23;21(22):8855. doi: 10.3390/ijms21228855.


Ovarian cancer (OvCa) develops asymptomatically until it reaches the advanced stages with metastasis, chemoresistance, and poor prognosis. Our review focuses on the analysis of regulatory long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) competing with protein-coding mRNAs for binding to miRNAs according to the model of competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) in OvCa. Analysis of publications showed that most lncRNAs acting as ceRNAs participate in OvCa progression: migration, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and metastasis. More than 30 lncRNAs turned out to be predictors of survival and/or response to therapy in patients with OvCa. For a number of oncogenic (CCAT1, HOTAIR, NEAT1, and TUG1 among others) and some suppressive lncRNAs, several lncRNA/miRNA/mRNA axes were identified, which revealed various functions for each of them. Our review also considers examples of alternative mechanisms of actions for lncRNAs besides being ceRNAs, including binding directly to mRNA or protein, and some of them (DANCR, GAS5, MALAT1, and UCA1 among others) act by both mechanisms depending on the target protein. A systematic analysis based on the data from literature and Panther or KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) databases showed that a significant part of lncRNAs affects the key pathways involved in OvCa metastasis, EMT, and chemoresistance.

Keywords: competitive endogenous RNAs; long non-coding RNAs; metastasis; miRNAs; oncogenic and suppressive lncRNAs; ovarian cancer; signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Disease Progression
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Messenger