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J Cell Biol. 2009 Dec 14;187(6):801-12. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200909127.

Disease-specific gene repositioning in breast cancer.

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  • 1National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Genomes are nonrandomly organized within the three-dimensional space of the cell nucleus. Here, we have identified several genes whose nuclear positions are altered in human invasive breast cancer compared with normal breast tissue. The changes in positioning are gene specific and are not a reflection of genomic instability within the cancer tissue. Repositioning events are specific to cancer and do not generally occur in noncancerous breast disease. Moreover, we show that the spatial positions of genes are highly consistent between individuals. Our data indicate that cancer cells have disease-specific gene distributions. These interphase gene positioning patterns may be used to identify cancer tissues.

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