Vol 25, No 5 (2020)
Reviews
Published online: 2020-09-01

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cfRNAs as biomarkers in oncology – still experimental or applied tool for personalized medicine already?

Tomasz Kolenda12, Kacper Guglas13, Dawid Baranowski12, Joanna Sobocińska12, Magda Kopczyńska12, Anna Teresiak1, Renata Bliźniak1, Katarzyna Lamperska1
DOI: 10.1016/j.rpor.2020.07.007
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2020;25(5):783-792.

Abstract

Currently, the challenges of contemporary oncology are focused mainly on the development of personalized medicine and precise treatment, which could be achieved through the use of molecular biomarkers. One of the biological molecules with great potential are circulating free RNAs (cfRNAs) which are present in various types of body fluids, such as blood, serum, plasma, and saliva. Also, different types of cfRNA particles can be distinguished depending on their length and function: microRNA (miRNA), PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA), tRNA-derived RNA fragments (tRFs), circular RNA (circRNA), long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), and messenger RNA (mRNA). Moreover, cfRNAs occur in various forms: as a free molecule alone, in membrane vesicles, such as exosomes, or in complexes with proteins and lipids. One of the modern approaches for monitoring patient's condition is a "liquid biopsy" that provides a non-invasive and easily available source of circulating RNAs. Both the presence of specific cfRNA types as well as their concentration are dependent on many factors including cancer type or even reaction to treatment. Despite the possibility of using circulating free RNAs as biomarkers, there is still a lack of validated diagnostic panels, defined protocols for sampling, storing as well as detection methods.

In this work we examine different types of cfRNAs, evaluate them as possible biomarkers, and analyze methods of their detection. We believe that further research on cfRNA and defining diagnostic panels could lead to better and faster cancer identification and improve treatment monitoring.

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Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy