Enhancers in cancer: Genetic and epigenetic deregulation

Kaixiang Cao, Ali Shilatifard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Dysregulated transcription of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors are central for cancer pathogenesis. Enhancers are distal cis-regulatory elements that are decorated by specific epigenetic marks and essential for the regulation of the expression of tissue specific genes. Mutations in enhancer sequence, alteration of enhancer-promoter communication, and misregulation of epigenetic enzymes and transcription factors that bind enhancers lead to enhancer malfunction, which is often responsible for a dysregulated transcription program in cancer. Here we discuss the mechanisms underlying enhancer function, how enhancer malfunction leads to oncogenesis, and how insight for novel cancer therapies can result from studies of enhancer malfunction in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Cancer
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128124857
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • BET proteins
  • CTCF
  • Cancer
  • Cohesin
  • Enhancer
  • Enhancer hijacking
  • Enhancer mutations
  • Enhancer-promoter communication
  • H3K27ac
  • H3K4me1
  • Mll3 (KMT2C)
  • Mll4 (KMT2D)
  • P300/CBP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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