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01.12.2016 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Molecular Cancer 1/2016

Circulating long non-coding RNAs in cancer: current status and future perspectives

Molecular Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2016
Peng Qi, Xiao-yan Zhou, Xiang Du
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

PQ wrote the manuscript, designed figures, and researched appropriate references. XZ and XD developed the concept and structure of the article, guided selection of references, and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) comprise a diverse class of RNA transcripts >200 nucleotides in length with limited protein-coding potential. In addition to their possible role in cancer biology, circulating lncRNAs have emerged as a new class of promising cancer biomarkers, with independent studies demonstrating the feasibility of their use as tools in the diagnosis and prognosis of different types of malignancies and for predicting and possibly monitoring treatment response. However, critical issues are represented by nonuniform sample choice, handling and processing, blood cell contamination during sample preparation and the lack of consensus regarding data normalization. In this review, we discuss the value of circulating lncRNAs in the clinical setting, particularly with respect to their possible implementation as diagnostic and prognostic markers in cancer. Although the great potential of circulating lncRNAs as cancer biomarkers would be an important development in disease management, both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that may affect their measurement have not been fully characterized. Moreover, the clinical significance of circulating lncRNA may not be proven without a global consensus regarding procedures and standardized protocols for their detection.
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