Polycomb and the emerging epigenetics of pancreatic cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of gastrointestinal cancer, Volume 42, Issue 2, p.100-11 (2011)


Animalsdigestive disease, digestive deseases Epigenesis, Geneticdigestive disease, digestive deseases Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplasticdigestive disease, digestive deseases Humansdigestive disease, digestive deseases Pancreatic Neoplasmsdigestive disease, digestive deseases Repressor Proteins


INTRODUCTION: The revolution of epigenetics has revitalized cancer research, shifting focus away from somatic mutation toward a more holistic perspective involving the dynamic states of chromatin. Disruption of chromatin organization can directly and indirectly precipitate genomic instability and transformation.

DISCUSSION: One group of epigenetic mediators, the Polycomb group (PcG) proteins, establishes heritable gene repression through methylation of histone tails. Although classically considered regulators of development and cellular differentiation, PcG proteins engage in a variety of neoplastic processes, including cellular proliferation and invasion. Due to their multifaceted potential, PcG proteins rest at the intersection of transcriptional memory and malignancy. Expression levels of PcG proteins hold enormous diagnostic and prognostic value in breast, prostate, and more recently, gastrointestinal cancers.

CONCLUSION: In this review, we briefly summarize the function of PcG proteins and report the latest developments in understanding their role in pancreatic cancer.