Analysis of extracellular vesicles (EV) and their contents may be useful as disease biomarkers if they reflect the contents of cells of origin, differ between normal and diseased tissue and can be reliably detected. An increasing number of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) are being reported to be aberrantly expressed in human cancers. These tumor-associated lncRNA may have potential as new biomarkers of disease. In this review, we highlight lncRNAs that are commonly associated with hepatocellular cancer, and summarize their potential biological roles and underlying molecular mechanisms. While lncRNA can be detected in the circulation, their low expression within circulating vesicles will require the use of highly sensitive detection technologies such as digital polymerase chain reaction or next-generation sequencing. While the integrity and functional role of tumor-specific lncRNAs within EV have yet to be established, their presence or enrichment within tumor cell-derived EV offers promise for their potential as disease biomarkers.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.