Ubiquilins or UBQLNs, members of the ubiquitin-like and ubiquitin-associated domain (UBL-UBA) protein family, serve as adaptors to coordinate the degradation of specific substrates via both proteasome and autophagy pathways. The UBQLN substrates reveal great diversity and impact a wide range of cellular functions. For decades, researchers have been attempting to uncover a puzzle and understand the role of UBQLNs in human cancers, particularly in the modulation of oncogene’s stability and nucleotide excision repair. In this review, we summarize the UBQLNs’ genetic variants that are associated with the most common cancers and also discuss their reliability as a prognostic marker. Moreover, we provide an overview of the UBQLNs networks that are relevant to cancers in different ways, including cell cycle, apoptosis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, DNA repairs and miRNAs. Finally, we include a future prospective on novel ubiquilin-based cancer therapies.
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