Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that structurally form closed loops without 5'-end cap and 3'-end poly(A) tail unlike linear RNAs. CircRNAs are widely present in eukaryotic cells and are presented with capabilities and characteristics of structural stability, high abundance and cell-/tissue-specific expression. A growing body of research now suggests that the aberrant expression of circRNA is intimately relevant to the occurrence and development of cancer. In this review, we mainly discuss the differentially expressed circRNAs in cancer tissues, plasma and exosomes, which makes it possible for clinicians to use certain circRNAs as novel biomarker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. In particular, we focus primarily on circRNAs as potential therapeutic targets, which will provide promising applications in cancer gene therapy.
Keywords: CircRNAs, Differential expression, Exosomes, Circulating RNAs, Biomarkers, Therapeutic target, Cancer
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