Panel of robust lincRNAs as pan-cancer diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers

Case ID: 01024


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a mysterious and recently discovered class of RNA molecules.  The advancement of technologies has recently enabled identification of tens of thousands of novel lncRNAs.  Many of these lncRNAs come from regions in the human genome that do not encode protein-coding genes, and therefore they are called long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs).  Interestingly, even though lincRNAs do not code for proteins and are therefore thought to be regulatory RNAs, they often show similar characteristics as messenger RNA. However, the functions of most lincRNAs are unknown.


Cancer is a disease characterized by genetic mutations as well as changes in global gene expression. There is a growing recognition in the biomedical field that lincRNAs are also associated with tumor initiation and progression. Compared to protein coding genes, lincRNA expression patterns are much more specific to particular tissues or particular developmental stages, and are therefore potentially better candidates for cancer biomarkers.


Using a powerful data mining approach to search through thousands of pan-cancer samples and multiple cohorts (cancers from as many as ten organs including breast, lung, head and neck, colon, kidney, endometrial cancers), we have discovered a panel of six lincRNAs that are highly accurate (97% accuracy) for the diagnosis of many types of cancers. These lincRNAs are consistently up-regulated or down-regulated in ten cancer types. Patient survival analysis also demonstrates that their expression patterns are associated with prognosis in lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Cell culture experiments on two selected lincRNAs confirmed that they have effects on the growth and migration of breast and colon cancer cell lines. In summary, we have discovered a panel of robust and accurate lincRNAs as potential pan-cancer diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.  This lincRNA panel has the potential to become a screening test for various types of cancers.

Patent Information:
Lana Garmire
Travers Ching

For information, contact:
Ann Park
Technology Licensing Associate
University of Hawaii
(808) 956-9929

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