Background: Since the first reports of microRNAs and the advent of new sequencing technologies,
a whole new world of regulatory non-conding RNAs (ncRNAs) has revolutionized our knowledge
of the RNA dimension. Thousands of functional non-coding transcripts have been identified and
grouped into new classes of ncRNAs attending to their origin and function. Despite the fact that we
have just started to study ncRNAs, it is now clear that these new regulatory actors play an important
role in most of the regulated biological processes and in almost all species.
Objective: An overview of the state of the art in ncRNAs and the development, diagnosis and treatment
of human cancer.
Method: NcRNAs are deeply involved in the regulation of key genes that are associated with human
cancer, representing a promising field for new therapies. This review summarizes the origin, structure
and function of the most relevant new classes of ncRNAs, playing special attention to the studies that
have related these new regulatory factors with the development of human cancer.
Results: From a thorough literature review on scientific publications and patented applications, this
review presents recent advances related to ncRNAs and human cancer. In addition, a selection of patents
that use ncRNAs to develop new methodologies for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is included
and described in each class of ncRNAs.
Conclusion: The regulatory potential of ncRNAs opens a new research field that will uncover new and
promising aspects in the study of human cancer.