The Use of circRNAs as Biomarkers of Cancer

Methods Mol Biol. 2021;2348:307-341. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1581-2_21.

Abstract

CircRNAs are a subclass of lncRNAs that have been found to be abundantly present in a wide range of species, including humans. CircRNAs are generally produced by a noncanonical splicing event called backsplicing that is dependent on the canonical splicing machinery, giving rise to circRNAs classified into three main categories: exonic circRNA, circular intronic RNA, and exon-intron circular RNA. Notably, circRNAs possess functional importance and display their functions through different mechanisms of action including sponging miRNAs, or even being translated into functional proteins. In addition, circRNAs also have great potential as biomarkers, particularly in cancer, thanks to their high stability, tissue type and developmental stage specificity, and their presence in biological fluids, which make them promising candidates as noninvasive biomarkers. In this chapter, we describe the most commonly used techniques for the study of circRNAs as cancer biomarkers, including high-throughput techniques such as RNA-Seq and microarrays, and other methods to analyze the presence of specific circRNAs in patient samples.

Keywords: Biogenesis; Biomarkers; Cancer; Functions; Methodology; circRNA.