A New World of Biomarkers and Therapeutics for Female Reproductive System and Breast Cancers: Circular RNAs

Anh M. Tran, Ghanbar Mahmoodi Chalbatani, Lea Berland, Mireia Cruz De los Santos, Priyank Raj, Seyed Amir Jalali, Elahe Gharagouzloo, Cristina Ivan, Mihnea P. Dragomir, George A. Calin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


As one of the most recently (re)discovered types of non-coding RNAs (ncRNA), circular RNAs (circRNAs) differentiate from other ncRNAs by a specific biogenesis, high stability, and distinct functions. The biogenesis of circRNAs can be categorized into three mechanisms that permit the back-splicing reaction: exon-skipping, pairing of neighboring introns, and dimerization of RNA-binding proteins. Regarding their stability, circRNAs have no free ends, specific to linear RNA molecules, prompting a longer half-life and resistance to exonuclease-mediated activity by RNase R, bypassing the common RNA turnover process. Regarding their functions, circular transcripts can be categorized into four broad roles: miRNA sponging, protein binding, regulation of transcription, and coding for proteins and peptides. Female reproductive system (including mainly ovarian, corpus, and cervix uteri cancers) and breast cancers are the primary causes of death in women worldwide, accounting for over 1,212,772 deaths in 2018. We consider that a better understanding of the molecular pathophysiology through the study of coding and non-coding RNA regulators could improve the diagnosis and therapeutics of these cancers. Developments in the field of circRNA in regard to breast or gynecological cancers are recent, with most circRNA-related discoveries having been made in the last 2 years. Therefore, in this review we summarize the newly detected roles of circRNAs in female reproductive system (cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer) and breast cancers. We argue that circRNAs can become essential elements of the diagnostic and therapeutic tools for female reproductive system cancers in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Mar 9 2020


  • breast cancer
  • cancer
  • cancer therapy
  • circular RNAs
  • female reproductive system
  • gynecological cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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