The Functional Aspect Of The Rna Continent In Cancer Research

Accumulation of somatic genetic alterations and subsequent clonal expansions leads the cells to a malignant neoplasia formation. The pathway progresses in a stepwise manner and is called "multistep carcinogenesis" (Fearon and Vogelstein, 1990; Nowell, 1976; Sugimura, 1992; Weinberg, 1989). Cancer cells acquire a variety of growth-advantageous features such as suppression of apoptosis and loss of anchorage dependence during the process of carcinogenesis (Hanahan and Weinberg, 2000).

The major target of environmental carcinogens is the DNA. Many of the susceptible genes for hereditary cancer-prone diseases encode DNA repair genes. Therefore, the cancer is a disease of DNA. Somatic DNA alterations cause cancer. Because the "central dogma" is an almost ultimate paradigm in the molecular biology, cancer scientists mainly concentrated their attention to the protein-coding genes as susceptibility genes for cancer. Hence, they may not have paid enough attention to the possibility that RNAs are culprits of malignant human disorders. Before the discovery of microRNA (miRNA), the only major topics of ncRNAs in cancer research were the loss of imprinting (LOI) (Feinberg and Tycko, 2004) and the natural antisense transcripts for several protooncogenes (Vanhee-Brossollet and Vaquero, 1998). Nowadays the involvement of miRNA in carcinogenesis becomes apparent. In this section, we will describe the state of the art in cancinogen-esis and ncRNA. This involves the topics miRNA, natural antisense transcripts, and the LOI. We also would like to discuss the recent discoveries on functional ncRNAs.

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