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Sarcoma. 2011;2011:282745. doi: 10.1155/2011/282745. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

The Role of RUNX2 in Osteosarcoma Oncogenesis.

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Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.


Osteosarcoma is an aggressive but ill-understood cancer of bone that predominantly affects adolescents. Its rarity and biological heterogeneity have limited studies of its molecular basis. In recent years, an important role has emerged for the RUNX2 "platform protein" in osteosarcoma oncogenesis. RUNX proteins are DNA-binding transcription factors that regulate the expression of multiple genes involved in cellular differentiation and cell-cycle progression. RUNX2 is genetically essential for developing bone and osteoblast maturation. Studies of osteosarcoma tumours have revealed that the RUNX2 DNA copy number together with RNA and protein levels are highly elevated in osteosarcoma tumors. The protein is also important for metastatic bone disease of prostate and breast cancers, while RUNX2 may have both tumor suppressive and oncogenic roles in bone morphogenesis. This paper provides a synopsis of the current understanding of the functions of RUNX2 and its potential role in osteosarcoma and suggests directions for future study.

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