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Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 Jun 9;11(7):481-92. doi: 10.1038/nrc3068.

SWI/SNF nucleosome remodellers and cancer.

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Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complexes use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to remodel nucleosomes and to modulate transcription. Growing evidence indicates that these complexes have a widespread role in tumour suppression, as inactivating mutations in several SWI/SNF subunits have recently been identified at a high frequency in a variety of cancers. However, the mechanisms by which mutations in these complexes drive tumorigenesis are unclear. In this Review we discuss the contributions of SWI/SNF mutations to cancer formation, examine their normal functions and discuss opportunities for novel therapeutic interventions for SWI/SNF-mutant cancers.

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