Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 479–488 | Cite as

Competing endogenous RNA interplay in cancer: mechanism, methodology, and perspectives



Competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) refer to RNA transcripts, such as mRNAs, non-coding RNAs, pseudogene transcripts, and circular RNAs, that can regulate each other by competing for the same pool of miRNAs. ceRNAs involve in the pathogenesis of several common cancers such as prostate cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer, endometrial cancer, and so on. ceRNA activity is determined by factors such as miRNA/ceRNA abundance, ceRNAs binding affinity to miRNAs, RNA editing, and RNA-binding proteins. The alteration of any of these factors may lead to ceRNA network imbalance and thus contribute to cancer initiation and progression. There are generally three steps in ceRNA research conductions: ceRNA prediction, ceRNA validation, and ceRNA functional investigation. Deciphering ceRNA interplay in cancer provides new insight into cancer pathogenesis and opportunities for therapy exploration. In this review, we try to give readers a concise and reliable illustration on the mechanism, functions, research approaches, and perspective of ceRNA in cancer.


ceRNA Cancer miRNA miRNA response elements 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Shiyan Taihe HospitalHubei University of MedicineShiyan CityChina
  2. 2.Cervical disease clinicJiangsu Huai’an Maternity and Children HospitalHuai’anChina
  3. 3.Department of RehabilitationThe Second People’s Hospital of Huai’anHuai’anChina
  4. 4.Department of Gastroenterology, Shanghai East HospitalTongji University, School of MedicineShanghaiChina

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