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Current Status of Research on the Role of Circular RNAs in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Clinical Implications

Ren-Chao Zou, Ling-Lin Li, Hong-Ling Yuan

Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e923832

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.923832

Available online: 2020-06-15

Published: 2020-08-11

ABSTRACT: The latest statistics show that rates of morbidity and mortality for hepatocellular carcinoma are gradually increasing over time. Accumulating evidence indicates that circular RNAs (circRNAs) participate in the regulation of gene transcription and translation and exert a crucial role in endogenous RNA network. circRNAs are implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous tumors including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), gastric carcinoma and bladder cancer. Of note, the effect of circRNAs in HCC has drawn increasing public attention. Previous studies revealed that the function of circRNAs mainly consists of sponges of miRNA and RNA-binding proteins, alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs, transcriptional and translational regulators, and potential to encode proteins. In addition, recent research data indicate that the expression level of circRNAs is closely correlated with metastasis, invasion, and occurrence of HCC in patients. These findings imply that circRNAs may be useful as biomarkers for diagnosis and prediction of prognosis of HCC. In this review, we have systemically summarized current viewpoints regarding the role of circRNAs expression in HCC to provide an important reference illustrating the underlying mechanism of HCC.

Keywords: Biological Markers, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular, Gene Expression