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Journal of Cancer Prevention


J Cancer Prev 2021; 26(2): 98-109

Published online June 30, 2021

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

The Role of Sex-specific Long Non-coding RNAs in Cancer Prevention and Therapy

Hye Kyung Song , Sun Young Kim

Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Technology, Duksung Women’s University, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to :
Sun Young Kim, E-mail:,

Received: March 15, 2021; Revised: May 11, 2021; Accepted: May 21, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The functions of a large number of non-coding genes in human DNA have yet to be accurately identified. Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) measuring 10 kb or less in length regulates transcription or post-transcriptional events. The lncRNAs have attracted increased attention of researchers in recent years. In this review, we summarize the recently published lncRNAs which are known to influence cancer development and progression. We also discuss recent studies investigating tumor-specific lncRNA expression. These lncRNAs provide very useful information that allows prediction of the degree of malignancy and a survival rate in cancer patients as clinically relevant biomarkers. Because symptoms and progression of cancer differ from onset to death between males and females, it is important to consider the gender of the patient when diagnosing cancer and predicting the progression. Considering the importance of gender difference, we also examine the influence of sex hormones involved in the expression and regulation of lncRNAs as biomarkers. Many of the lncRNAs examined in this review have been studied in cancers occurring in the female or male reproductive organs, but the association between lncRNAs and sex hormones has also been reported in common organs such as the lung, renal and colon. Although lncRNAs have not yet been widely used as definitive cancer indicators, recent studies have demonstrated the potential role of lncRNAs as biomarkers and therapeutic targets reflecting sex-specificity in a number of different cancers.

Keywords: LncRNA, Sex-specificity, Cancer, Biomarker, Sex hormone

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