A Molecular Oncology Special Issue – Non-coding RNAs: dark matter of the genome and cancer

A new expert review collection to help make sense of this burgeoning cancer biology field.
A Molecular Oncology Special Issue – Non-coding RNAs: dark matter of the genome and cancer

Molecular Oncology welcomes readers to 2019 with a special issue on the involvement of non-coding RNAs in cancer biology, featuring seven freely available review articles written by experts in the field. As there has been unprecedented coverage of the role of non-coding RNAs in almost all aspects of biology and pathology, this special issue is focused on specific issues that have practical significance, rather than trying to encompass the full biology of these molecules.

The issue opens with an article by Joanne Weidhaas and Ye Yuan on microRNA‐associated polymorphisms that have been shown to be important biomarkers of cancer risk, prognosis, and treatment outcomes. This has great translational significance, as these predictive biomarkers can be used for patient selection into treatment groups in clinical trials (Yuan and Weidhaas, 2018).

The miR‐181 family is one of the most frequently deregulated families of microRNAs in lung cancers. In their review, Ioana Berindan and colleagues focus on the roles of miR‐181 RNAs and their potential use as biomarkers and therapeutic targets (Braicu et al., 2018).

Anke van den Berg, Joost Kluiver, and colleagues cover the important topic of crosstalk between MYC and non-coding RNAs, and the significance for potential new therapeutic approaches in human cancers (Swier et al., 2018).

Expression of the long non-coding RNA NEAT1 has been reported to be altered in various cancers. Martin Pichler and colleagues review the role of NEAT1 in carcinogenesis, and discuss some contradictory reports related to its potential interaction with microRNAs (Klec et al., 2018).

Cristina Lo Nigro and colleagues discuss the roles of long non-coding RNAs as regulators of cancer immunity, a particularly important topic in light of the recent success of several types of immunotherapies (Denaro et al., 2018).

Manuela Ferracin and colleagues report on the involvement of certain small and long non-coding RNAs in cutaneous melanoma, and the diagnostic and prognostic potential of microRNAs for this disease (Riefolo et al., 2018).

Finally, Spina and Rossi provide an overview of the mutation landscape in the most frequent type of human leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, with a particular emphasis on non-coding lesions of the genome (Spina and Rossi, 2018).

The journal extends its gratitude to the authors and reviewers for kindly sharing their expertise on non-coding RNAs. Special thanks to our guest editor George Calin, whose expert coordination, careful consideration, and kind encouragement made this special issue a reality. We hope that this special issue will not only answer many of our readers’ questions on this topic, but also raise new ones that will open new avenues of research.

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