Long non-coding RNAs in leukemia: biology and clinical impact

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Over the last years, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as putative regulators of malignant hematopoietic development. Here, we review recent literature on the involvement of lncRNAs in leukemia, including their role in driving or sustaining disease and their potential impact on diagnosis, classification, and prognosis.

Recent findings

Leukemogenesis is a complex process resulting from the accumulation of multiple genetic alterations. Over the last years, advances in high-throughput sequencing and transcriptome profiling have enabled the identification of lncRNAs involved in leukemia development. lncRNAs are able to distinguish different subtypes of human leukemia and several reports have identified specific patterns of lncRNA expression associated with clinical patient characteristics. Although functional studies on the actual role of these lncRNAs during transformation remain scarce, emerging evidence suggests that complex interactions between coding and non-coding transcript are truly involved in leukemia development.

Summary

Introduction of lncRNAs as an additional layer of complexity in human leukemia might provide new molecular genetic insights in the biology of this disease and could create unique opportunities for the identification of novel drug targets and diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers.

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