The Role of RNA Processing and Regulation in Metastatic Dormancy

Kimberly A. Parker, Nathaniel J. Robinson, William P. Schiemann
2021 Seminars in Cancer Biology  
Tumor dormancy is a major contributor to the lethality of metastatic disease, especially for cancer patients who develop metastases years-to-decades after initial diagnosis. Indeed, tumor cells can disseminate during early disease stages and persist in new microenvironments at distal sites for months, years, or even decades before initiating metastatic outgrowth. This delay between primary tumor remission and metastatic relapse is known as "dormancy," during which disseminated tumor cells
more » ... d tumor cells (DTCs) acquire quiescent states in response to intrinsic (i.e., cellular) and extrinsic (i.e., microenvironmental) signals. Maintaining dormancy-associated phenotypes requires DTCs to activate transcriptional, translational, and post-translational mechanisms that engender cellular plasticity. RNA processing is emerging as an essential facet of cellular plasticity, particularly with respect to the initiation, maintenance, and reversal of dormancy-associated phenotypes. Moreover, dysregulated RNA processing, particularly that associated with alternative RNA splicing and expression of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), can occur in DTCs to mediate intrinsic and extrinsic metastatic dormancy. Here we review the pathophysiological impact of alternative RNA splicing and ncRNAs in promoting metastatic dormancy and disease recurrence in human cancers.
doi:10.1016/j.semcancer.2021.03.020 pmid:33775829 fatcat:pzituvqag5hnloydct4eztapfy