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Trends Mol Med. 2006 Nov;12(11):529-36. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

Evidence of recurrent gene fusions in common epithelial tumors.

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  • 1Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai 410208, India.


Chromosomal aberrations that accompany carcinogenesis have been documented for almost half a century, with gene fusions being the most prevalent type of aberration. Gene fusions leading to generation of aberrant fusion proteins or aberrant expression of normal proteins are a potent route to carcinogenesis and have recently emerged as attractive therapeutic targets. Intriguingly, although gene fusions have been widely observed in hematological malignancies, they have been far less frequently described in the more-common epithelial carcinomas. It has been recently proposed that technical issues, rather than any fundamental dichotomy between hematological and solid cancers, account for the under-representation of gene fusions in epithelial cancers. Recent reports from our group support this contention and provide evidence of widespread recurrent gene fusions in prostate cancer using a novel analysis of gene-expression profiles. Here, we provide an appraisal of the state of the knowledge of gene fusions in epithelial cancers. Future implications of gene fusions in common epithelial cancers are also discussed.

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