Emerging roles of circRNAs in leukemia and the clinical prospects: An update

Immun Inflamm Dis. 2023 Jan;11(1):e725. doi: 10.1002/iid3.725.


Background: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a new category of endogenous non-protein coding RNAs (ncRNAs), and show the characteristics of high conservation, stability, and tissue specificity. Due to rapid advances in next-generation sequencing and transcriptome profiling technologies, circRNAs have been widely discovered in many organisms and participated in the development and progress of a variety of diseases. As a type of molecular sponge, circRNAs mainly absorb micro RNAs competitively and interplay with RNA-binding proteins to modulate the splicing as well as transcription of target genes.

Methods: This review is based on a literature search using the Medline database. Search terms used were "circular RNAs and leukemia," "circRNAs and leukemia," "circRNAs and acute lymphoblastic leukemia," "circRNAs and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia," "circRNAs and acute myeloid leukemia," "circRNAs and chronic myeloid leukemia," and "circRNAs, biomarker, and hematological system."

Results: CircRNAs have been proven as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in a variety of tumors. Recent research has found that circRNAs aberrantly exist in hematological cancers, especially leukemia, and are significantly associated with the incidence, progress, and metastasis of diseases as well as the prognosis of patients.

Conclusion: The current work summarizes the latest findings on circRNAs in various types of leukemia, aiming to propose prospective therapies and new drug screening methods for the treatment of leukemia.

Keywords: acute lymphoblastic leukemia; circRNAs; diagnosis; drug resistance; leukemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Humans
  • Leukemia* / diagnosis
  • Leukemia* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • RNA, Circular* / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Circular
  • Biomarkers, Tumor