Research Topic

Role of RNA in Molecular Diagnostics of Cancer

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RNA is essential for various biological roles including coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. Emerging evidence is accumulating that tumor cells release substantial amounts of RNA into the bloodstream, which strongly resist RNases in the blood. Thus, it is reported that these circulating RNAs ...

RNA is essential for various biological roles including coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. Emerging evidence is accumulating that tumor cells release substantial amounts of RNA into the bloodstream, which strongly resist RNases in the blood. Thus, it is reported that these circulating RNAs are upregulated in the serum and plasma of cancer patients. This liquid biopsy contains various classes of RNA molecules, including messenger RNAs, microRNAs, piwi-interacting RNAs, transfer RNAs and other non-coding RNA (ncRNA) molecules. These circulating RNAs are usually packed in extracellular vesicles and have considerable potential as minimally-invasive biomarkers, since they are stable and some have been associated with disease phenotypes. However, these findings also raise many questions, e.g. what are the purpose of their presence in the bloodstream or body fluids, what are the mechanisms of export and cellular uptake, what is their nature and their life cycles, what molecules do they interact with in the blood, and what are the possible biological functions of the circulating RNA?

In the world of RNA, about 2% is coding RNA, ncRNAs make up the majority (98%) of the transcriptome. These molecules have fundamental roles in cells and many are also stable in body fluids as extracellular RNAs. With the advent of next-generation sequencing, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) was used in decoding the mystery of this “dark matter”, and many exciting findings let us know more about the evolution of the RNA-releasing-tumors; using circulating RNA as surrogate biomarker and its role in the cell-to-cell communication and metastasis. Thus, this Research Topic envisions to collect cutting-edge studies in exploring the biological and clinical roles of these areas in one place.

We would like to welcome the scholars and faculties to contribute by writing Original Research papers, Reviews and Perspectives on the following topics:

1. The potential of circulating exosomal RNA as a biomarker in cancer;
2. The potential of circulating cell-free RNA as a biomarker in cancer;
3. Application of RNA next-generation sequencing in molecular diagnosis;
4. Current and future molecular diagnostics of RNA in cancer;
5. Application of NanoString technologies in companion diagnostic development;
6. Regulation of RNA in the cell-to-cell communication and metastatic evolution;
7. Long non-coding RNAs and their roles in carcinogenesis;
8. Small nucleolar and circular RNAs as potential cancer biomarkers;;
9. Current and future platforms in circulating RNA detection
10. The applications and integration of transcriptomics and metabolomics in
molecular diagnostics of cancer.


Keywords: RNA, Circulating cell-free RNA, microRNA, Liquid biopsy, Molecular diagnostics


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