Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a relatively rare malignancy of the urinary tract system. RCC is a heterogenous disease in terms of underlying histology and its associated underlying pathobiology, prognosis and treatment schedule. The most prevalent histological RCC subtype is clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), accounting for about 70–80% of all RCCs. Though the pathobiology and treatment schedule for ccRCC are well-established, non-ccRCC subtypes account for 20%–30% of RCC altogether, and their underlying molecular biology and treatment options are poorly defined. The class of non-coding RNAs—molecules that are generally not translated into proteins—are new cancer drivers and suppressors in all types of cancer. Of these, small non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) contribute to carcinogenesis by regulating posttranscriptional gene silencing. Additionally, a growing body of evidence supports the role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in cancer development and progression. Most studies on non-coding RNAs in RCC focus on clear-cell histology, and there is a relatively limited number of studies on non-ccRCC subtypes. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the current knowledge regarding the role of non-coding RNAs (including short and long non-coding RNAs) in non-ccRCC and to highlight possible implications as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers.
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