Review
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2022. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Oncol. Jun 15, 2022; 14(6): 1067-1085
Published online Jun 15, 2022. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v14.i6.1067
Circular RNAs in hepatocellular carcinoma: Recent advances
Zhao-Shan Niu, Wen-Hong Wang
Zhao-Shan Niu, Laboratory of Micromorphology, School of Basic Medicine, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266071, Shandong Province, China
Wen-Hong Wang, Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medicine, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266071, Shandong Province, China
Author contributions: Niu ZS wrote, revised and proofread this paper; Wang WH consulted the relevant literature in this field.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Zhao-Shan Niu, MD, Associate Professor, Laboratory of Micromorphology, School of Basic Medicine, Qingdao University, No. 1 Ningde Road, Qingdao 266071, Shandong Province, China. z.s.niu@qdu.edu.cn
Received: August 19, 2021
Peer-review started: August 19, 2021
First decision: September 12, 2021
Revised: September 22, 2021
Accepted: May 26, 2022
Article in press: May 26, 2022
Published online: June 15, 2022
Abstract

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have covalently closed loop structures at both ends, exhibiting characteristics dissimilar to those of linear RNAs. Emerging evidence suggests that aberrantly expressed circRNAs play crucial roles in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by affecting the proliferation, apoptosis and invasive capacity of HCC cells. Certain circRNAs may be used as biomarkers to diagnose and predict the prognosis of HCC. Therefore, circRNAs are expected to become novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for HCC. Herein, we briefly review the characteristics and biological functions of circRNAs, focusing on their roles in HCC to provide new insights for the early diagnosis and targeted therapy of HCC.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, Circular RNAs, Function, Diagnosis, Biomarkers, Targeted therapy

Core Tip: Current studies have shown that aberrantly expressed circular RNAs (circRNAs) play crucial roles in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by affecting the proliferation, apoptosis and invasive capacity of HCC cells. Certain circRNAs may be used as potential biomarkers to diagnose and predict the prognosis of HCC. Therefore, circRNAs are expected to become novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for HCC. Herein, we briefly review the characteristics and biological functions of circRNAs, focusing on their roles in HCC to provide new insights for the early diagnosis and targeted therapy of HCC.