Studies have demonstrated that both squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and adenocarcinomas (ACs) possess some common molecular characteristics. Evidence has accumulated to support the theory that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) serve as novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in complex diseases such as cancer.

In this study, we aimed to identify pan lncRNA signatures that are common to squamous cell carcinomas or adenocarcinomas with different tissues of origin. With the aid of elastic-net regularized regression models, a 35-lncRNA pan discriminative signature and an 11-lncRNA pan prognostic signature were identified for squamous cell carcinomas, whereas a 6-lncRNA pan discriminative signature and a 5-lncRNA pan prognostic signature were identified for adenocarcinomas. Among them, many well-known cancer relevant genes such as MALAT1 and PVT1 were included.

The identified pan lncRNA lists can help experimental biologists generate research hypotheses and adopt existing treatments for less prevalent cancers. Therefore, these signatures warrant further investigation.