There is only one-third of total human transcripts annotated as coding RNAs, which translate into protein products to pursue biological functions; on the other hand, the rest of two-third is noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), which were generally considered as junk genes due to lacking the potential of protein translation. Nevertheless, there are more and more studies shed the light on the importance of ncRNAs in disease progression and patient outcomes. The hurdles for studying ncRNAs associated with diseases and cancers are lacking effective ways to systematically identify disease-associated ncRNAs for exploring their molecular and pathological functions for clinical interventions.
Cancer metastasis is responsible for majority of cancer patient death. However, how cancer cells turn on the molecular metastatic switch to spread the reprogrammed cancer cells to the distant organ to cause lethality remain elusive. Therefore, targeting prognosis-related metastasis driver genes with understanding of the pathological mechanisms is critical to eliminating the metastatic signaling and prolonging the life of cancer patients. Previous reports by Dr. Yuh-Shan Jou and his lab members at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Academia Sinica in Taiwan identified PSPC1 (paraspeckle component 1) upregulation as the master modulator and transforming growth factor b1 (TGF-b1) pro-metastatic switch to augment cancer epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), stemness and metastasis (Nature Cell Biology, 2018 and Cancer Research, 2019).