About this Research Topic
Cancer is a public health problem globally, mostly due to population aging and increased exposure to risk factors including potentially carcinogenic hazards. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that new cases of cancer will increase more than 60% during the next two decades, rising from 18.1 million of new cases in 2018 to 29.5 million in 2040. Overall, the most important strategies for cancer control are based on primary or secondary prevention and early disease detection. Nonetheless, a considerable number of cancer cases cannot be prevented by minimizing risk factors, or they fail to be detected as early lesions due to limitations of current diagnostic tools.
Cancer cases that progress is an important medical challenge because of substantially poorer prognosis, notably for tumors that disseminate as distant metastasis within the body. Elucidating why and how cancers became more aggressive is pivotal for the development of more effective therapies against these diseases. Even considering that cancers are a very heterogeneous group of diseases, they share hallmarks that rely on molecular disturbances occurring in either the neoplastic cells or their microenvironment. In the last few decades, the understanding of molecular pathways associated with cancer development significantly improved the diagnosis and treatment of tumors, and ultimately life quality and survival of cancer patients.
In this setting, noncoding RNAs (ncRNA), such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long ncRNAs (lncRNAs), were found to play a major role in the pathogenesis of many human cancers, if not all. For instance, expression of individual endogenous miRNAs or lncRNAs, as well as expression signature profiles involving ncRNAs, have already been associated with specific cancers, response to therapy, and even distinct aggressive behavior, such as metastatic potential. Furthermore, accumulating data also implicates ncRNAs encoded by some oncogenic viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV), as possible modulators of progression for infection-associated cancers.
This research topic aims to compile and discuss data that contribute to elucidating the role of endogenous or viral ncRNAs in molecular and cellular processes leading to cancer progression, such as:
1. Tumor growth
2. Vascular remodeling (angiogenesis, vascular co-option, vasculogenic mimicry)
3. Malignant cell migration and invasion
4. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
5. Induction/maintenance of the cancer stem cell phenotype
6. Establishment of metastatic niches
7. Other events in the metastatic cascade and metastasis dormancy.
8. Cancer cachexia and paraneoplastic syndromes
Papers that provide insights, proof-of-concept or clinical evaluation on how ncRNAs can be used as biomarkers to improve diagnosis, prognosis, disease monitoring or therapeutic design and response are also very welcome. Both original research and review articles will be included.
Keywords: noncoding RNAs, cancer biology, oncoviruses, patient management, humans
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