Review Volume 11, Issue 21 pp 9932—9946
Emerging roles of piRNAs in cancer: challenges and prospects
- 1 Jiangsu Research Center for Primary Health Development and General Practice Education, Jiangsu Vocational College of Medicine, Yancheng, China
- 2 Department of General Surgery, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
- 3 Department of Gastroenterology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
received: July 10, 2019 ; accepted: October 28, 2019 ; published: November 13, 2019 ;https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.102417
How to Cite
Copyright © 2019 Cheng et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
PiRNAs are a small class of non-coding small RNAs newly discovered in recent years. Millions of piRNAs have been discovered to date, and more than 20,000 piRNA genes have been found in the human genome. Due to the relatively small number of studies related to piRNA, our understanding of piRNAs is very limited. Currently, the clear biological function of piRNAs is transposon mobilization inhibition by promoting transcript degradation and regulating chromatin formation. In addition, piRNAs can form piRNA-PIWI protein complexes with some members of the PIWI branch of the Argonaute protein. Based on these biological functions, piRNAs and PIWI proteins are important in maintaining the genomic integrity of germline cells. Because of this, the popularity of piRNAs research has been focused on its role in germline cells for a long time after the discovery of piRNAs. As the field of research expands, there is growing evidence that piRNAs and PIWI proteins are abnormally expressed in various types of cancers, which may be potential cancer biomarkers and cancer therapeutic targets. In this review, we will focus on the relationship between piRNAs and PIWI proteins and cancers based on previous research, as well as their significance in cancer detection, grading and treatment.