The emerging role of long noncoding RNAs in oral cancer

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Although less than 3% of the genome encodes proteins, at least 75% of the genome is transcribed into RNAs with no protein-coding potential (noncoding RNAs [ncRNAs]). On the basis of their size and the arbitrary 200 nucleotides cutoff, ncRNAs are classified into long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) or small ncRNAs (including microRNAs). Over the last few years, the role of microRNAs in oral squamous cells carcinoma (OSCC) has been extensively addressed, but the possible role of lncRNAs in OSCC remains unclear. We aimed to explore and discuss the potential role of lncRNAs in OSCC. The detection of lncRNAs in saliva holds promise not only as a noninvasive diagnostic tool in OSCC but also in the early detection of oral cancer recurrence. lncRNAs are promising future therapeutic targets in the OSCC scenario, and research in this field may expand greatly in the next decade.

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