Function and Clinical Significance of Circular RNAs in Thyroid Cancer

Front Mol Biosci. 2022 Jul 22;9:925389. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2022.925389. eCollection 2022.


Thyroid cancer (TC) is the leading cause and mortality of endocrine malignancies worldwide. Tumourigenesis involves multiple molecules including circular RNAs (circRNAs). circRNAs with covalently closed single-stranded structures have been identified as a type of regulatory RNA because of their high stability, abundance, and tissue/developmental stage-specific expression. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that various circRNAs are aberrantly expressed in thyroid tissues, cells, exosomes, and body fluids in patients with TC. CircRNAs have been identified as either oncogenic or tumour suppressor roles in regulating tumourigenesis, tumour metabolism, metastasis, ferroptosis, and chemoradiation resistance in TC. Importantly, circRNAs exert pivotal effects on TC through various mechanisms, including acting as miRNA sponges or decoys, interacting with RNA-binding proteins, and translating functional peptides. Recent studies have suggested that many different circRNAs are associated with certain clinicopathological features, implying that the altered expression of circRNAs may be characteristic of TC. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of recent advances on the dysregulation, functions, molecular mechanisms and potential clinical applications of circRNAs in TC. This review also aimes to improve our understanding of the functions of circRNAs in the initiation and progression of cancer, and to discuss the future perspectives on strategies targeting circRNAs in TC.

Keywords: circular RNAs; dysregulation; function; mechanism; perspective; thyroid cancer.

Publication types

  • Review