Long noncoding RNAs and cancer, an overview

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Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are implicated in several biological processes, including but not limited to cardiovascular physiology, reproduction, differentiation, metabolism, DNA repair, and inflammation. Under normal physiological conditions, expression of lncRNAs is tissue-specific and tightly regulated. In contrast, prevalent cancer types exhibit aberrant expression of lncRNAs. In this context, lncRNAs can drive cancer cell characteristics by controlling gene expression programs related to tumor suppressive and oncogenic functions. Hence, they can be excellent biomarkers and targets for therapeutic intervention in cancers. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which lncRNAs drive cancer progression will improve our understanding of the etiology of cancer and suggest new ways to treat this disease. This review will provide a perspective on the role of lncRNAs in cancer initiation and progression.

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