Lung cancer is associated with a high mortality, with around 1.8 million deaths worldwide in 2018. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for around 85% of cases and, despite improvement in the management of NSCLC, most patients are diagnosed at advanced stage and the five-year survival remains around 15%. This highlights a need to identify novel ways to treat the disease to reduce the burden of NSCLC. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are non-coding RNA molecules longer than 200 nucleotides in length which play important roles in gene expression and signaling pathways. Recently, lncRNAs were implicated in cancer, where their expression is dysregulated resulting in aberrant functions. LncRNAs were shown to function as both tumor suppressors and oncogenes in a variety of cancer types. Although there are a few well characterized lncRNAs in NSCLC, many lncRNAs remain un-characterized and their mechanisms of action largely unknown. LncRNAs have success as therapies in neurodegenerative diseases, and having a detailed understanding of their function in NSCLC may guide novel therapeutic approaches and strategies. This review discusses the role of lncRNAs in NSCLC tumorigenesis, highlighting their mechanisms of action and their clinical potential.
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