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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 759;

A Comparative Analysis of Genetic and Epigenetic Events of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Related to Tumorigenesis

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA
School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240, USA
Genome Science Institute, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helmut Segner
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 12 May 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Annual Reviews in Molecular Sciences)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1067 KB, uploaded 18 May 2016]   |  


Breast cancer persists as the most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide. Ovarian cancer is also a significant source of morbidity and mortality, as the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women. This reflects the continued need for further understanding and innovation in cancer treatment. Though breast and ovarian cancer usually present as distinct clinical entities, the recent explosion of large-scale -omics research has uncovered many overlaps, particularly with respect to genetic and epigenetic alterations. We compared genetic, microenvironmental, stromal, and epigenetic changes common between breast and ovarian cancer cells, as well as the clinical relevance of these changes. Some of the most striking commonalities include genetic alterations of BRCA1 and 2, TP53, RB1, NF1, FAT3, MYC, PTEN, and PIK3CA; down regulation of miRNAs 9, 100, 125a, 125b, and 214; and epigenetic alterations such as H3K27me3, H3K9me2, H3K9me3, H4K20me3, and H3K4me. These parallels suggest shared features of pathogenesis. Furthermore, preliminary evidence suggests a shared epigenetic mechanism of oncogenesis. These similarities, warrant further investigation in order to ultimately inform development of more effective chemotherapeutics, as well as strategies to circumvent drug resistance. View Full-Text
Keywords: breast cancer; ovarian cancer; epigenetics breast cancer; ovarian cancer; epigenetics

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Longacre, M.; Snyder, N.A.; Housman, G.; Leary, M.; Lapinska, K.; Heerboth, S.; Willbanks, A.; Sarkar, S. A Comparative Analysis of Genetic and Epigenetic Events of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Related to Tumorigenesis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 759.

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