Most small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) with regulatory functions are encoded by majority sequences in the human genome, and the emergence of high-throughput sequencing technology has greatly expanded our understanding of sncRNAs. sncRNAs are composed of a variety of RNAs, including tRNA-derived small RNA (tsRNA), small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA), small nuclear RNA (snRNA), PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA), etc. While for some, sncRNAs’ implication in several pathologies is now well established, the potential involvement of tsRNA, snoRNA, snRNA and piRNA in human diseases is only beginning to emerge. Recently, accumulating pieces of evidence demonstrate that tsRNA, snoRNA, snRNA and piRNA play an important role in many biological processes, and their dysregulation is closely related to the progression of cancer. Abnormal expression of tsRNA, snoRNA, snRNA and piRNA participates in the occurrence and development of tumours through different mechanisms, such as transcriptional inhibition and post-transcriptional regulation. In this review, we describe the research progress in the classification, biogenesis and biological function of tsRNA, snoRNA, snRNA and piRNA. Moreover, we emphasised their dysregulation and mechanism of action in cancer and discussed their potential as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers or therapeutic targets.
- genetic research
- medical oncology
- molecular biology
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Contributors LX: Writing of the original draft, reviewing and editing the manuscript. JW and SJ: Conception and design of the manuscript. MC: Manuscript structure optimisation, figure and table modification. RJ: Conception and design of the manuscript, reviewing the manuscript. All authors have reviewed the manuscript and have approved its final version for publication.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.