Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 503–513 | Cite as

Post-transcriptional regulation of long noncoding RNAs in cancer

  • Xuefei Shi
  • Ming Sun
  • Ying Wu
  • Yanwen Yao
  • Hongbing Liu
  • Guannan Wu
  • Dongmei Yuan
  • Yong Song


It is a great surprise that the genomes of mammals and other eukaryotes harbor many thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Although these long noncoding transcripts were once considered to be simply transcriptional noise or cloning artifacts, multiple studies have suggested that lncRNAs are emerging as new players in diverse human diseases, especially in cancer, and that the molecular mechanisms of lncRNAs need to be elucidated. More recently, evidence has begun to accumulate describing the complex post-transcriptional regulation in which lncRNAs are involved. It was reported that lncRNAs can be implicated in degradation, translation, pre-messenger RNA (mRNA) splicing, and protein activities and even as microRNAs (miRNAs) sponges in both a sequence-dependent and sequence-independent manner. In this review, we present an updated vision of lncRNAs and summarize the mechanism of post-transcriptional regulation by lncRNAs, providing new insight into the functional cellular roles that they may play in human diseases, with a particular focus on cancers.


Long noncoding RNA Mechanism Post-transcriptional regulation Cancer 



Long noncoding RNAs




Competitive endogenous RNA


Small interfering RNAs


Piwi-associated RNAs


X inactive specific transcript


Hox transcript antisense intergenic RNA


MicroRNA response elements


Highly upregulated in liver cancer


Hepatocellular carcinoma


Papillary thyroid carcinoma susceptibility candidate 3


Papillary thyroid carcinoma


Small nuclear ribonucleoproteins


Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins


Metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1


Natural antisense transcript


Untranslated region


Epithelial–mesenchymal transition


Chinese hamster ovary


Cyclin-dependent kinase 6


Staufen 1-mediated mRNA decay


Half-STAU1-binding site RNAs


Terminal differentiation-induced ncRNA


RNase protection assay


Ubiquitin carboxyterminal hydrolase L1


Translational regulatory lncRNA




LncRNA Low Expression in Tumor


H19, imprinted maternally expressed transcript


Phosphatase and tensin homolog pseudogene 1



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81170064) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81302032). We apologize to all researchers whose relevant contributions were not cited due to space limitations.

Authors’ contributions

YS conceived of the review and participated in its design. XFS and MS drafted the manuscript. YW drafted Table 1. LW and YWY drafted the figures and the figure legends. HBL, DMY, and CHL participated in the design of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuefei Shi
    • 1
  • Ming Sun
    • 2
  • Ying Wu
    • 1
  • Yanwen Yao
    • 1
  • Hongbing Liu
    • 1
  • Guannan Wu
    • 1
  • Dongmei Yuan
    • 1
  • Yong Song
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Respiratory Medicine, Jinling HospitalNanjing University School of MedicineNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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