Relationship between tRNA-derived fragments and human cancers.Int J Cancer. 2020 May 19 [Online ahead of print]IJ
tRNA-derived fragments, a class of small noncoding RNAs (sncRNAs), have been identified in numerous studies in recent years. tRNA-derived fragments are classified into two main groups, including tRNA halves (tiRNAs) and tRNA-derived small RNA fragments (tRFs), according to different cleavage positions of the precursor or mature tRNAs. Instead of random tRNA degradation debris, a growing body of evidence has shown that tRNA-derived fragments are precise products of specific tRNA modifications and play important roles in biological activities, such as regulating protein translation, affecting gene expression, and altering immune signaling. Recently, the relations between tRNA-derived fragments and the occurrence of human diseases, especially cancers, have generated wide interest. It has been demonstrated that tRNA-derived fragments are involved in cancer cell proliferation, metastasis, progression and survival. In this review, we will describe the biogenesis of tRNA-derived fragments, the distinct expression and function of tRNA-derived fragments in the development of cancers, and their emerging roles as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and precise targets of future treatments.