Previously thought of as junk transcripts and pseudogene remnants, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have come into their own over the last decade as an essential component of cellular activity, regulating a plethora of functions within multicellular organisms. lncRNAs are now known to participate in development, cellular homeostasis, immunological processes, and the development of disease. With the advent of next generation sequencing technology, hundreds of thousands of lncRNAs have been identified. However, movement beyond mere discovery to the understanding of molecular processes has been stymied by the complicated genomic structure, tissue-restricted expression, and diverse regulatory roles lncRNAs play. In this review, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC focus on lncRNAs involved in lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States and worldwide. The researchers summarize their various methods of discovery, provide consensus rankings of deregulated lncRNAs in lung cancer, and describe in detail the limited functional analysis that has been undertaken so far.
Lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) arises in the distal alveolar epithelium from progenitor alveolar epithelial cells. LUAD develops from these precursor cells though oncogenic activation (and deactivation of tumor suppressors) by induced mutations to the DNA, amplification and fusion events, as well as epigenomic alterations. Genes listed were taken from TCGA analysis of LUAD (15). Added to this is the newly-emergent appreciation for altered lncRNA regulation of cellular processes as an oncogenic event.