Publication date: Mar 19, 2020
Gastric cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, usually diagnosed at late stages. The development of new biomarkers to improve its prevention and patient management is critical for disease control. piRNAs are small regulatory RNAs important for gene silencing mechanisms, mainly associated with the silencing of transposable elements. piRNA pathways may also be involved in gene regulation and the deregulation of piRNAs may be an important factor in carcinogenic processes. Thus, several studies suggest piRNAs as potential cancer biomarkers. Translational studies suggest that piRNAs may regulate key genes and pathways associated with gastric cancer progression, though there is no functional annotation in piRNA databases. The impacts of genetic variants in piRNA genes and their influence in gastric cancer development remains elusive, highlighting the gap in piRNA regulatory mechanisms knowledge. Here, we discuss the current state of understanding of piRNA-mediated regulation and piRNA functions and suggest that genetic alterations in piRNA genes may affect their functionality, thus, it may be associated with gastric carcinogenesis.
In the era of precision medicine, investigations about genetic and epigenetic mechanisms are essential to further comprehend gastric carcinogenesis and the role of piRNAs as potential biomarkers for translational research.
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