Long noncoding RNAs in liver cancer: what we know in 2014.
INTRODUCTION: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of primary liver cancer with an estimated over half a million new cases diagnosed annually. Due to the difficulty in early diagnosis and lack of effective treatment options, HCC is currently ranked as the second highest neoplastic-related mortality in the world, with an extremely low 5-year survival rate of between 6 and 11%. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), are genes lacking protein coding ability, have recently emerged as pivotal participants in biological processes, often dysregulated in a range of cancers, including HCC.
AREAS COVERED: In this review, we highlight the recent findings of lncRNAs in HCC pathogenesis, with particular attention on epigenetic events. In silico analysis was utilized to emphasize intrinsic linkages within the ncRNA families associated with hepatocarcinogenesis.
EXPERT OPINION: While our understanding of lncRNAs in the onset and progression of HCC is still in its infancy, there is no doubt that understanding the activities of ncRNAs will certainly secure strong biomarkers and improve treatment options for HCC patients.