Recent advances in the field of RNA research have provided compelling evidence implicating microRNA (miRNA) and long non-coding RNA molecules in many diverse and substantial biological processes, including transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, genomic imprinting, and modulation of protein activity. Thus, studies of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) may contribute to the discovery of possible biomarkers in human cancers. Considering that the response to chemotherapy can differ amongst individuals, researchers have begun to isolate and identify the genes responsible. Identification of targets of this ncRNA associated with cancer can suggest that networks of these linked to oncogenes or tumor suppressors play pivotal roles in cancer development. Moreover, these ncRNA are attractive drug targets since they may be differentially expressed in malignant versus normal cells and regulate expression of critical proteins in the cell. This review focuses on ncRNAs that are differently expressed in malignant tissue, and discusses some of challenges derived from their use as potential biomarkers of tumor properties.
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