Background: Since the first reports of microRNAs and the advent of new sequencing technologies, a whole new world of regulatory non-conding RNAs (ncRNAs) has revolutionized our knowledge of the RNA dimension. Thousands of functional non-coding transcripts have been identified and grouped into new classes of ncRNAs attending to their origin and function. Despite the fact that we have just started to study ncRNAs, it is now clear that these new regulatory actors play an important role in most of the regulated biological processes and in almost all species.
Objective: An overview of the state of the art in ncRNAs and the development, diagnosis and treatment of human cancer.Method: NcRNAs are deeply involved in the regulation of key genes that are associated with human cancer, representing a promising field for new therapies. This review summarizes the origin, structure and function of the most relevant new classes of ncRNAs, playing special attention to the studies that have related these new regulatory factors with the development of human cancer.