Long non-coding RNAs: An emerging powerhouse in the battle between life and death of tumor cells

Xing Dong Xiong, Xingcong Ren, Meng Yun Cai, Jay W. Yang, Xinguang Liu, Jin Ming Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent a class of non-protein coding transcripts longer than 200 nucleotides that have aptitude for regulating gene expression at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional or epigenetic levels. In recent years, lncRNAs, which are believed to be the largest transcript class in the transcriptomes, have emerged as important players in a variety of biological processes. Notably, the identification and characterization of numerous lncRNAs in the past decade has revealed a role for these molecules in the regulation of cancer cell survival and death. It is likely that this class of non-coding RNA constitutes a critical contributor to the assorted known or/and unknown mechanisms of intrinsic or acquired drug resistance. Moreover, the expression of lncRNAs is altered in various patho-physiological conditions, including cancer. Therefore, lncRNAs represent potentially important targets in predicting or altering the sensitivity or resistance of cancer cells to various therapies. Here, we provide an overview on the molecular functions of lncRNAs, and discuss their impact and importance in cancer development, progression, and therapeutic outcome. We also provide a perspective on how lncRNAs may alter the efficacy of cancer therapy and the promise of lncRNAs as novel therapeutic targets for overcoming chemoresistance. A better understanding of the functional roles of lncRNA in cancer can ultimately translate to the development of novel, lncRNA-based intervention strategies for the treatment or prevention of drug-resistant cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-42
Number of pages15
JournalDrug Resistance Updates
StatePublished - May 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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