Deciphering the function of non-coding RNAs in prostate cancer.

The advent of next-generation sequencing methods is fuelling the discovery of multiple non-coding RNA transcripts with direct implication in cell biology and homeostasis. This new layer of biological regulation seems to be of particular importance in human pathogenesis, including cancer. The aberrant expression of ncRNAs is a feature of prostate cancer, as they promote tumor-suppressive or oncogenic activities, controlling multicellular events leading to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. From the small RNAs involved in the RNAi pathway to the long non-coding RNAs controlling chromatin remodeling, alternative splicing, and DNA repair, the non-coding transcriptome represents the significant majority of transcriptional output. As such, ncRNAs appear as exciting new diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools. However, additional work is required to characterize the RNA species, their functions, and their applicability to clinical practice in oncology. In this review, we summarize the most important features of ncRNA biology, emphasizing its relevance in prostate carcinogenesis and its potential for clinical applications.

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