Circular RNA expression is abundant and correlated to aggressiveness in early-stage bladder cancer

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The functions and biomarker potential of circular RNAs (circRNAs) in various cancer types are a rising field of study, as emerging evidence relates circRNAs to tumorigenesis. Here, we profiled the expression of circRNAs in 457 tumors from patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). We show that a set of highly expressed circRNAs have conserved core splice sites, are associated with Alu repeats, and enriched with Synonymous Constraint Elements as well as microRNA target sites. We identified 113 abundant circRNAs that are differentially expressed between high and low-risk tumor subtypes. Analysis of progression-free survival revealed 13 circRNAs, among them circHIPK3 and circCDYL, where expression correlated with progression independently of the linear transcript and the host gene. In summary, our results demonstrate that abundant circRNAs possess multiple biological features, distinguishing them from low-expressed circRNAs and non-circularized exons, and suggest that circRNAs might serve as a new class of prognostic biomarkers in NMIBC.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Journalnpj Genomic Medicine
Volume2
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2017

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