Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), which comprise most non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), have recently become a focus of cancer research. How many functional ncRNAs exist is still a matter of debate. Although insufficient evidence supports that most lncRNAs function as transcriptional by-products, it is widely known that an increasing number of lncRNAs play essential roles in cells. Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), 60–300 nucleotides in length, have been better studied than long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and are predominantly present in the nucleolus. Most snoRNAs are encoded in introns of protein- and non-protein-coding genes called small nucleolar RNA host genes (SNHGs). In this article, we explore the biology and characteristics of SNHGs and their role in developing human malignancies. In addition, we provide an update on the ability of these snoRNAs to serve as prognostic and diagnostic variables in various forms of cancer.
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