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Circular RNAs: a new frontier in the study of human diseases
  1. Yonghua Chen1,
  2. Cheng Li2,
  3. Chunlu Tan1,
  4. Xubao Liu1
  1. 1Department of Pancreatic Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
  2. 2Rehabilitation Medicine Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Xubao Liu, Department of Pancreatic Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China; hx_xbliu{at}, xbliu{at}


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are recently discovered new endogenous non-coding RNAs and an area of much research activity. In addition to their potential as major gene regulators, reports are linking heterogeneous circRNA groups with many different human disorders, especially cancer. In this review, we focus on the rapidly advancing field of circRNAs that play a part in human diseases. We list tools (eg, public databases) that scan genome spans of interest to identify known circRNAs; describe the relationship between dysregulated circRNAs and human disease, highlighting their specific roles; and consider the possible use of current and potential circRNA research applications in treating human diseases. Specifically, we review the role of circRNAs as biomarkers, drug targets and therapeutic agents.

  • Circular RNA
  • Human diseases
  • Biomarker
  • Online databases

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