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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4723193, 17 pages
Review Article

Molecular Crosstalking among Noncoding RNAs: A New Network Layer of Genome Regulation in Cancer

1BioMolecular, Genome and Complex Systems BioMedicine Unit (BMGS Unit), Section of Biology and Genetics G Sichel, Department of BioMedical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
2IRCCS Associazione Oasi Maria S.S., Institute for Research on Mental Retardation and Brain Aging, Troina, Enna, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Michele Purrello

Received 24 May 2017; Revised 24 July 2017; Accepted 24 August 2017; Published 24 September 2017

Academic Editor: Brian Wigdahl

Copyright © 2017 Marco Ragusa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the past few years, noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have been extensively studied because of the significant biological roles that they play in regulation of cellular mechanisms. ncRNAs are associated to higher eukaryotes complexity; accordingly, their dysfunction results in pathological phenotypes, including cancer. To date, most research efforts have been mainly focused on how ncRNAs could modulate the expression of protein-coding genes in pathological phenotypes. However, recent evidence has shown the existence of an unexpected interplay among ncRNAs that strongly influences cancer development and progression. ncRNAs can interact with and regulate each other through various molecular mechanisms generating a complex network including different species of RNAs (e.g., mRNAs, miRNAs, lncRNAs, and circRNAs). Such a hidden network of RNA-RNA competitive interactions pervades and modulates the physiological functioning of canonical protein-coding pathways involved in proliferation, differentiation, and metastasis in cancer. Moreover, the pivotal role of ncRNAs as keystones of network structural integrity makes them very attractive and promising targets for innovative RNA-based therapeutics. In this review we will discuss: (1) the current knowledge on complex crosstalk among ncRNAs, with a special focus on cancer; and (2) the main issues and criticisms concerning ncRNAs targeting in therapeutics.