Treatment decisions for breast cancer are based on staging and hormone receptor expression and include chemotherapies and endocrine therapy. While effective in many cases, some breast cancers are resistant to therapy, metastasize and recur, leading to eventual death. Higher percentages of tumor-initiating cancer stem cells (CSCs) may contribute to the increased aggressiveness, chemoresistance, and worse outcomes among breast cancer. This may be particularly true in triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) which have higher percentages of CSCs and are associated with worse outcomes. In recent years, increasing numbers of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified as playing an important role in breast cancer progression and some of these have been specifically associated within the CSC populations of breast cancers. LncRNAs are non-protein-coding transcripts greater than 200 nucleotides which can have critical functions in gene expression regulation. The preclinical evidence regarding lncRNA antagonists for the treatment of cancer is promising and therefore, presents a potential novel approach for treating breast cancer and targeting therapy-resistant CSCs within these tumors. Herein, we summarize the lncRNAs that have been identified as functionally relevant in breast CSCs. Furthermore, our review of the literature and analysis of patient datasets has revealed that many of these breast CSC-associated lncRNAs are also enriched in TNBC. Together, this suggests that these lncRNAs may be playing a particularly important role in TNBC. Thus, certain breast cancer-promoting/CSC-associated lncRNAs could be targeted in the treatment of TNBCs and the CSCs within these tumors should be susceptible to anti-lncRNA therapy.
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