Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcripts with poor coding capacity that may interact with proteins, DNA, or other RNAs to perform structural and regulatory functions. The lncRNA transcriptome changes significantly in most diseases, including cancer and viral infections. In this review, we summarize the functional implications of lncRNA-deregulation after infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV leads to chronic infection in many patients that may progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Most lncRNAs deregulated in infected cells that have been described function to potentiate or block the antiviral response and, therefore, they have a great impact on HCV viral replication. In addition, several lncRNAs upregulated by the infection contribute to viral release. Finally, many lncRNAs have been described as deregulated in HCV-related HCC that function to enhance cell survival, proliferation, and tumor progression by different mechanisms. Interestingly, some HCV-related HCC lncRNAs can be detected in bodily fluids, and there is great hope that they could be used as biomarkers to predict cancer initiation, progression, tumor burden, response to treatment, resistance to therapy, or tumor recurrence. Finally, there is high confidence that lncRNAs could also be used to improve the suboptimal long-term outcomes of current HCC treatment options.
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