Small Non-Coding-RNA in Gynecological Malignancies

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 3;13(5):1085. doi: 10.3390/cancers13051085.


Gynecologic malignancies, which include cancers of the cervix, ovary, uterus, vulva, vagina, and fallopian tube, are among the leading causes of female mortality worldwide, with the most prevalent being endometrial, ovarian, and cervical cancer. Gynecologic malignancies are complex, heterogeneous diseases, and despite extensive research efforts, the molecular mechanisms underlying their development and pathology remain largely unclear. Currently, mechanistic and therapeutic research in cancer is largely focused on protein targets that are encoded by about 1% of the human genome. Our current understanding of 99% of the genome, which includes noncoding RNA, is limited. The discovery of tens of thousands of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), possessing either structural or regulatory functions, has fundamentally altered our understanding of genetics, physiology, pathophysiology, and disease treatment as they relate to gynecologic malignancies. In recent years, it has become clear that ncRNAs are relatively stable, and can serve as biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis, as well as guide therapy choices. Here we discuss the role of small non-coding RNAs, i.e., microRNAs (miRs), P-Element induced wimpy testis interacting (PIWI) RNAs (piRNAs), and tRNA-derived small RNAs in gynecological malignancies, specifically focusing on ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancer.

Keywords: P-Element induced wimpy testis interacting (PIWI) RNAs (piRNAs); cervical cancer; endometrial cancer; gynecological malignancies; microRNAs (miRs); ovarian cancer; small non-coding-RNA; tRNA-derived small RNAs.

Publication types

  • Review