Circular RNAs pp 171-187 | Cite as

Circular RNAs as Biomarkers for Cancer

  • Lu Xia
  • Meiyi Song
  • Mengxue Sun
  • Fei WangEmail author
  • Changqing YangEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1087)


As a type of novel noncoding RNAs, circular RNAs (circRNAs) have attracted great interest due to its different characteristics from linear RNAs. They are abundantly and stably present in the transcriptome of eukaryotic cells, with development stage specificity and high conservatism. Because circRNAs are not easily degraded by exonuclease RNase R, they can exist more stably in body fluids than linear RNAs. Based on these unique conditions, circRNAs have great potential value as clinical diagnostic and prognostic markers. As the research deepens, more and more evidences suggest that circRNAs may be closely associated with many diseases, especially cancer. Numerous studies have demonstrated the abnormal expression of circRNAs in cancer, and they can regulate the occurrence and progression of cancer by targeting key genes. Abundant circRNAs in tissues and cells can be released into saliva and blood. It is undeniable that circRNAs are a class of promising future biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Here we summarize the researches on circRNAs and cancer over the past few years. We expect this summary to be a stepping stone to further exploration of possible circRNAs as cancer biomarkers.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) Cancer Biomarkers Diagnosis Prognosis 



This work was supported by the grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (81670571 and 81370559 to C. Yang; 81400635 to F. Wang), Joint Projects in Major Diseases funding from Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (2014ZYJB0201 to C. Yang), Joint Projects for Novel Frontier Technology in Shanghai Municipal Hospital from Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (SHDC12014122 to C. Yang), Shanghai Medical Guide Project from Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (14411971500 to F. Wang), grants from Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (TQGB20140141 to F. Wang), and funds from Shanghai Innovation Program (12431901002 to C. Yang).

Competing Financial Interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyDigestive Disease Institute, Shanghai Tongji Hospital, Tongji University School of MedicineShanghaiChina

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