Background: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), a type of regulatory RNAs, play a key role in numerous cellular pathways. Ectopic expression of this group of non-coding RNAs has been specified to be involved in numerous diseases. Moreover, the role of lncRNAs in the initiation and development of cancers including colorectal cancer (CRC) has been acknowledged.
Objective: In the present review, the role of lncRNAs as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers in CRC as well as the molecular mechanisms of their contribution to development of CRC has been addressed.
Results: The presented studies have indicated the ectopic expression of various lncRNAs in CRC. Some lncRNAs which were considered as tumor suppressors were downregulated in the colorectal cancerous tissues compared with healthy controls; however, some with oncogenic effects were upregulated. LncRNAs contribute to tumor development via various molecular mechanisms such as epigenetically controlling the expression of target genes, interacting with miRNAs as their sponge, etc.
Conclusion: LncRNAs that have been recognized as prognostic biomarkers may pave the way for clinical management to offer adjuvant treatments for patients with CRC.