Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are noncoding products of backsplicing of pre-mRNAs which have been established to possess potent biological functions. Dysregulated circRNA expression has been linked to diseases including different types of cancer. Cancer progression is known to result from the dysregulation of several molecular mechanisms responsible for the maintenance of cellular and tissue homeostasis. The dysregulation of these processes is defined as cancer hallmarks, and the molecular pathways implicated in them are regarded as the targets of therapeutic interference. In this review, we summarize the literature on the investigation of circRNAs implicated in cancer hallmark molecular signaling. First, we present general information on the properties of circRNAs, such as their biogenesis and degradation mechanisms, as well as their basic molecular functions. Subsequently, we summarize the roles of circRNAs in the framework of each cancer hallmark and finally discuss the potential as therapeutic targets.
Keywords: biomarker; cancer progression; circular RNA; metastasis.