The emerging role of long non-coding RNAs in endometrial cancer

The human genome is pervasively transcribed and approximately 98% of the genome is non-coding. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a heterogeneous group of RNA transcripts that are >200 nucleotides in length with minimal to no protein-coding potential. Similar to proteins, lncRNAs have important biological functions in both normal cells and disease states including many types of cancer. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of lncRNAs in cancer biology and highlights the potential for lncRNA as diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutics. The authors focus on the poorly understood role of lncRNAs in endometrial cancer, the most common gynecologic malignancy in the developed world.

  • Non-coding part of the transcriptome is involved in gynecological cancer pathology.
  • Expression of long intervening non-coding RNAs is perturbed in endometrial cancer.
  • HOTAIR lincRNA might serve as a prognostic molecular marker for endometrial cancer.

Schematic representation of the OVAAL locus and its expression profile in type I endometrial cancer


OVAAL gene is located on the long arm of the human chromosome 1 upstream from the VDAC1P4 pseudogene and downstream of XPR1, which is a protein-coding gene (upper panel, modified Ensembl display). Lower panel shows expression levels of the three OVAAL exons in endometrial tumors as compared to adjacent non-tumor endometrium. The number of OVAAL transcripts has been determined by RNA-seq and is presented as the number of reads aligning to each exon sequence (BJ Chen et al., unpublished observations).

Takenaka K, Chen BJ, Modesitt SC, Byrne FL, Hoehn KL, Janitz M. (2016) The emerging role of long non-coding RNAs in endometrial cancer. Cancer Genet 209(10):445-455. [abstract]

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