Circular RNAs: New layer of complexity evading breast cancer heterogeneity

Alyaa Dawoud, Zeina Ihab Zakaria, Hannah Hisham Rashwan, Maria Braoudaki, Rana A. Youness

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Advances in high-throughput sequencing techniques and bioinformatic analysis have refuted the "junk" RNA hypothesis that was claimed against non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Circular RNAs (circRNAs); a class of single-stranded covalently closed loop RNA molecules have recently emerged as stable epigenetic regulators. Although the exact regulatory role of circRNAs is still to be clarified, it has been proven that circRNAs could exert their functions by interacting with other ncRNAs or proteins in their own physiologically authentic environment, regulating multiple cellular signaling pathways and other classes of ncRNAs. CircRNAs have also been reported to exhibit a tissue-specific expression and have been associated with the malignant transformation process of several hematological and solid malignancies. Along this line of reasoning, this review aims to highlight the importance of circRNAs in Breast Cancer (BC), which is ranked as the most prevalent malignancy among females. Notwithstanding the substantial efforts to develop a suitable anticancer therapeutic regimen against the heterogenous BC, inter- and intra-tumoral heterogeneity have resulted in an arduous challenge for drug development research, which in turn necessitates the investigation of other markers to be therapeutically targeted. Herein, the potential of circRNAs as possible diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers have been highlighted together with their possible application as novel therapeutic targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-74
Number of pages15
JournalNon-coding RNA Research
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023


  • Biomarkers
  • Breast cancer
  • CircrRNAs
  • Diagnosis
  • Heterogeneous tumor
  • Precision medicine
  • Prognosis


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