Noncoding RNAs represent a high proportion of the human genome and regulate gene expression by means of innumerable and unimaginable modes of action. Particularly, long noncoding RNAs have emerged as central regulators of gene expression and alterations on their function have been associated with many types of cancer, such as astrocytomas. Astrocytomas are the most common type of gliomas in the central nervous system, and glioblastoma multiforme is their most aggressive form. Although adult and pediatric astrocytomas exhibit certain molecular similarities, they are considered as distinct molecular entities. Since to date there is no effective treatments for these tumors, different efforts are being made to find molecular tools useful for this purpose. Studies have shown that both tumor and circulating expression of lncRNAs were altered in astrocytoma, which was useful to distinguish the patients with this neoplasia from those without cancer, as well as to determine different prognostic factors related to the disease. According to these studies, different “molecular signatures” of specific lncRNAs were established, and they have a potential use in the medical practice. From a system biological perspective, complex interaction networks, conformed by lncRNAs, microRNAs, mRNAs, and proteins, were elucidated and predicted to control many oncogenic processes.
Part of the book: Primary Intracranial Tumors