Chromosomal translocations in cancer
Genetic alterations in DNA can lead to cancer when it is present in proto-oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, DNA repair genes etc. Examples of such alterations include deletions, inversions and chromosomal translocations. Among these rearrangements chromosomal translocations are considered as the primary cause for many cancers including lymphoma, leukemia and some solid tumors. Chromosomal translocations in certain cases can result either in the fusion of genes or in bringing genes close to enhancer or promoter elements, hence leading to their altered expression. Moreover, chromosomal translocations are used as diagnostic markers for cancer and its therapeutics. In the first part of this review, we summarize the well-studied chromosomal translocations in cancer. Although the mechanism of formation of most of these translocations is still unclear, in the second part we discuss the recent advances in this area of research.
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