Unraveling the gene expression networks governing cancer initiation and development is essential while remains largely uncompleted. With the innovations in RNA-seq technologies and computational biology, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are being identified and characterized at a rapid pace. Recent findings reveal that lncRNAs are implicated in serial steps of cancer development. These lncRNAs interact with DNA, RNA, protein molecules and/or their combinations, acting as an essential regulator in chromatin organization, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. Their misexpression confers the cancer cell capacities for tumor initiation, growth, and metastasis. The review here will emphasize their aberrant expression and function in cancer, and the roles in cancer diagnosis and therapy will be also discussed.
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