Shoda, Katsutoshi University of Yamanashi
Ichikawa, Daisuke University of Yamanashi
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) comprise a large class of endogenous non-coding RNA with covalently closed loops and have independent functions as linear transcripts transcribed from identical genes. circRNAs are generated by a “back-splicing” process regulated by regulatory elements in cis and associating proteins in trans. Many studies have shown that circRNAs play important roles in multiple processes, including splicing, transcription, chromatin modification, miRNA sponges, and protein decoys. circRNAs are highly stable because of their closed ring structure, which prevents them from degradation by exonucleases, and are more abundant in terminally differentiated cells, such as brains. Recently, it was demonstrated that numerous circRNAs are differentially expressed in cancer cells, and their dysfunction is involved in tumorigenesis and metastasis. However, the crucial functions of these circRNAs and the dysregulation of circRNAs in cancer are still unknown. In this review, we summarize the recent reports on the biogenesis and biology of circRNAs and then catalog the advances in using circRNAs as biomarkers and therapeutic targets for cancer therapy, particularly esophageal cancer.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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