Competing endogenous RNA networks in human cancer: hypothesis, validation, and perspectives

Chao Yang _, Di Wu, Lin Gao, Xi Liu, Yinji Jin, Dong Wang, Tianzhen Wang and Xiaobo Li

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:13479-13490. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7266

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Chao Yang1,*, Di Wu2,*, Lin Gao3,*, Xi Liu4,*, Yinji Jin1, Dong Wang5, Tianzhen Wang1 and Xiaobo Li1

1 Department of Pathology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

3 Center for Endemic Disease Control, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

4 Department of Cardiovascular Disease, Inner Mongolia People’s Hospital, Hohhot, China

5 College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

* These authors have contributed to this work equally

Correspondence to:

Xiaobo Li, email:

Tianzhen Wang, email:

Dong Wang, email:

Keywords: competing endogenous RNA, cancer, miRNAs, lncRNA, pseudogene

Received: November 19, 2015 Accepted: January 31, 2016 Published: February 08, 2016


Non-coding RNAs represent a majority of the human transcriptome. However, less is known about the functions and regulatory mechanisms of most non-coding species. Moreover, little is known about the potential non-coding functions of coding RNAs. The competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) hypothesis is proposed recently. This hypothesis describes potential communication networks among all transcript RNA species mediated by miRNAs and miRNA-recognizing elements (MREs) within RNA transcripts. Here we review the evolution of the ceRNA hypothesis, summarize the validation experiments and discusses the significance and perspectives of this hypothesis in human cancer.

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