Tumorigenesis is a complex dynamic biological process that includes multiple steps of genetic and epigenetic alterations, aberrant expression of noncoding RNA, and changes in the expression profiles of coding genes. We call the collection of those perturbations in genome space the “cancer initiatome.” Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are pervasively transcribed in the genome and they have key regulatory functions in chromatin remodeling and gene expression. Spatiotemporal variation in the expression of lncRNAs has been observed in development and disease states, including cancer. A few dysregulated lncRNAs have been studied in cancers, but the role of lncRNAs in the cancer initiatome remains largely unknown, especially in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Researchers at the People’s Hospital of Zhengzhou, China conducted a genome-wide screen of the expression of lncRNAs and coding RNAs from ESCC and matched adjacent nonneoplastic normal tissues. They identified differentially expressed lncRNAs and coding RNAs in ESCC relative to their matched normal tissue counterparts and validated the result using polymerase chain reaction analysis. Furthermore, they identified differentially expressed lncRNAs that are co-located and co-expressed with differentially expressed coding RNAs in ESCC and the results point to a potential interaction between lncRNAs and neighboring coding genes that affect ether lipid metabolism, and the interaction may contribute to the development of ESCC. These data provide compelling evidence for a potential novel genomic biomarker of esophageal squamous cell cancer.
- Cao W et al. (2013) Integrated Analysis of Long Noncoding RNA and Coding RNA Expression in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. International Journal of Genomics [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]