Document Type: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background: Numerous similarities have been noted between gametogenic and tumorigenic programs in features such as global hypomethylation, immune evasion, immortalization, meiosis induction, and migration. In addition, aberrant expression of testis specific genes has been detected in various cancers which has led to categorization of these genes as "cancer-testis genes". Most of the examples identified in this category are protein encoding. However, recent studies have revealed that non-coding RNAs, including long non coding RNAs (lncRNAs), may have essential regulatory roles in telomere biology, chromatin dynamics, modulation of gene expression and genome structural organization. All of these functions are implicated in both gametogenic and tumorigenic programs. Methods: In the present study, we conducted a computerized search of the MEDLINE/PUBMED and Embase databases with the key words lncRNA, gametogenesis, testis and cancer. Results: We found a number of lncRNAs with essential roles and notable expression in both gametogenic and cancer tissues. Conclusions: Comparison between cancer tissues and gametogenic tissues has shown that numerous lncRNAs are expressed in both, playing similar roles in processes modulated by signaling pathways such as Wnt/β-catenin and PI3K/AKT/mTOR. Evaluation of expression patterns and functions of these genes should pave the way to discovery of biomarkers for early detection, prognostic assessment and evaluation of therapeutic responses in cancers.