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Non-coding RNAs and epithelial mesenchymal transition in cancer: molecular mechanisms and clinical implications

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  • Hashem Khanbabaei, Kerman University of Medical Sciences
  • ,
  • Saeedeh Ebrahimi, Kerman University of Medical Sciences
  • ,
  • Juan Luis García-Rodríguez
  • Zahra Ghasemi, Islamic Azad University
  • ,
  • Hossein Pourghadamyari, Kerman University of Medical Sciences
  • ,
  • Milad Mohammadi, University of Cologne
  • ,
  • Lasse Sommer Kristensen

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a fundamental process for embryonic development during which epithelial cells acquire mesenchymal characteristics, and the underlying mechanisms confer malignant features to carcinoma cells such as dissemination throughout the organism and resistance to anticancer treatments. During the past decades, an entire class of molecules, called non-coding RNA (ncRNA), has been characterized as a key regulator of almost every cellular process, including EMT. Like protein-coding genes, ncRNAs can be deregulated in cancer, acting as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. The various forms of ncRNAs, including microRNAs, PIWI-interacting RNAs, small nucleolar RNAs, transfer RNA-derived RNA fragments, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs can orchestrate the complex regulatory networks of EMT at multiple levels. Understanding the molecular mechanism underlying ncRNAs in EMT can provide fundamental insights into cancer metastasis and may lead to novel therapeutic approaches. In this review, we describe recent advances in the understanding of ncRNAs in EMT and provide an overview of recent ncRNA applications in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number278
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Cancer, EMT, Metastasis, Molecular mechanisms, Non-coding RNA

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