Circular RNAs function as competing endogenous RNAs in multiple types of cancer (Review)
- Qing Ji
- Chengcheng Zhang
- Xiaoting Sun
- Qi Li
Published online on: November 3, 2017
Copyright: © Ji et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Circular (circ)RNAs, naturally formed endogenous non‑coding RNAs, have received extensive attention in recent years due to their special loop structures and specific function. circRNAs are formed with covalently closed continuous loops and are mainly generated by back‑splicing processes or lariat introns from exons and/or introns. Usually, circRNAs are stable, abundant, and evolutionarily conserved in the cytoplasm. circRNAs often exhibit abnormal expression in different diseases, notably in human cancers, and the presence of abundant circRNAs in serum, saliva and exosomes renders them potential diagnostic or predictive biomarkers for diseases, including multiple types of cancer. Presently, certain circRNAs have been reported to function as microRNA sponges and RNA‑binding protein sponges to regulate downstream gene transcription, which suggests a potential for circRNAs in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and clinical therapy. The present study assessed the latest advances in the study of circRNAs in cancer, summarized the functions of circRNAs in different types of cancer, highlighted the competing endogenous RNA function of circRNAs in the occurrence and development of human malignancies, and provided evidence for the future application of circRNAs in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of multiple types of cancer.