Role of RNA-binding proteins in both COPD and lung cancer

Francesco Nucera, Ilaria Salvato, Luca Ricciardi, Annunziata Nigro, Jessica Dal Col, Francesco Monaco, Antonio Ieni, Guido Fadda, Giovanni Tuccari, Cristiana Stellato, Gaetano Caramori


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an independent risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Several pathogenic pathways such as oxidative stress and chronic inflammation of the lower airways are shared by these two diseases. The RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) can modulate the post-transcriptional expression of genes involved in several biological processes, such as cell cycle, cell proliferation and injury/stress responses. The bonding between RBPs and targeted transcripts regulates mRNA turnover, subcellular localization, splicing and translation, through the formation of ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) complexes. Several pro-inflammatory mediators, that induce and maintain chronic lung inflammation and carcinogenesis, are modulate by RBPs.

RBPs can have a key role in lung cancer onset in COPD patients, sharing several common pathogenic processes, including oxidative stress, inflammation of lower airways, DNA damage and impaired DNA-repair mechanisms.

Further studies are mandatory to clarify the application of RBPs as novel biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets. This review will investigate recent evidences showing the role of RBPs in the pathogenic mechanisms sharing by lung cancer and COPD


chronic airway inflammation, COPD, lung cancer, post-transcriptional regulation, RNA-binding proteins

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