Enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) in Cancer: The Jacks of All Trades

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Apr 14;14(8):1978. doi: 10.3390/cancers14081978.


Enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) are non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) transcribed in enhancer regions. They play an important role in transcriptional regulation, mainly during cellular differentiation. eRNAs are tightly tissue- and cell-type specific and are induced by specific stimuli, activating promoters of target genes in turn. eRNAs usually have a very short half-life but in some cases, once activated, they can be stably expressed and acquire additional functions. Due to their critical role, eRNAs are often dysregulated in cancer and growing number of interactions with chromatin modifiers, transcription factors, and splicing machinery have been described. Enhancer activation and eRNA transcription have particular relevance also in inflammatory response, placing the eRNAs at the interplay between cancer and immune cells. Here, we summarize all the possible molecular mechanisms recently reported in association with eRNAs activity.

Keywords: cancer; eRNA; enhancer; immune response; ncRNA; transcriptional regulation.

Publication types

  • Review