Exploring lincRNA's role in breast cancer

April 8, 2013

Once considered part of the "junk" of our genome, much of the DNA between protein-coding genes is now known to be transcribed. New findings by scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center have identified several dozen transcripts known as lincRNAs, or long intergenic non-coding RNAs, that are dysregulated in breast cancer. The results, to be presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 on Monday, April 8, offer both a new research path for better understanding of how breast cancer works and a new method for identifying lincRNAs that may contribute to tumorigenesis or regulation of other cancers.

"This is a very preliminary result," says study author Xiaowei Chen, PhD, assistant professor at Fox Chase, "because we spent most of our time trying to define how to pull out the useful information" from the region of the genome between protein-coding genes. Even though "the overall concept is new," says Chen, in the end the team settled on standard methods for each step of the genome-wide approach for identifying lincRNA-coding regions.

In the study, researchers conducted pairwise comparisons of genomic information between five tumor samples and the adjacent normal cells. That comparison yielded 47 lincRNA transcripts, of which the team selected the most prevalent 14. They then checked how these lincRNAs were expressed by 12 established breast cancer cell lines and four non-cancerous cell lines. The team found that expression varied widely, indicating that lincRNAs are differentially regulated within cell lines.

"We wanted to identify the changes in order to find some candidates," says Chen, rather than identify all candidates; "there are many more, I believe." The next step will be to conduct a of these 14 most prevalent transcripts to see if the expression has any biological meaning. Already, the team has identified one lincRNA gene that Chen says "looks pretty promising," but full results will come later.

Explore further: Long intervening non-coding RNAs play pivotal roles in brain development

Related Stories

Long intervening non-coding RNAs play pivotal roles in brain development

December 22, 2011
Whitehead Institute scientists have identified conserved, long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) that play key roles during embryonic brain development in zebrafish. They also show that the human versions of the lincRNAs ...

Recommended for you

CAR-T immunotherapy may help blood cancer patients who don't respond to standard treatments

October 20, 2017
Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is one of the first centers nationwide to offer a new immunotherapy that targets certain blood cancers. Newly approved ...

Researchers pinpoint causes for spike in breast cancer genetic testing

October 20, 2017
A sharp rise in the number of women seeking BRCA genetic testing to evaluate their risk of developing breast cancer was driven by multiple factors, including celebrity endorsement, according to researchers at the University ...

Study shows how nerves drive prostate cancer

October 19, 2017
In a study in today's issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore Medicine, report that certain nerves sustain prostate cancer growth by triggering a switch that causes tumor vessels ...

Gene circuit switches on inside cancer cells, triggers immune attack

October 19, 2017
Researchers at MIT have developed a synthetic gene circuit that triggers the body's immune system to attack cancers when it detects signs of the disease.

One to 10 mutations are needed to drive cancer, scientists find

October 19, 2017
For the first time, scientists have provided unbiased estimates of the number of mutations needed for cancers to develop, in a study of more than 7,500 tumours across 29 cancer types. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger ...

Researchers target undruggable cancers

October 19, 2017
A new approach to targeting key cancer-linked proteins, thought to be 'undruggable," has been discovered through an alliance between industry and academia.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.