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Pediatr Res. 2012 Aug;72(2):112-21.

Pediatric sarcomas: translating molecular pathogenesis of disease to novel therapeutic possibilities.

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Molecular Biology Interdepartmental PhD Program, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.


Pediatric sarcomas represent a diverse group of rare bone and soft tissue malignancies. Although the molecular mechanisms that propel the development of these cancers are not well understood, identification of tumor-specific translocations in many sarcomas has provided significant insight into their tumorigenesis. Each fusion protein resulting from these chromosomal translocations is thought to act as a driving force in the tumor, either as an aberrant transcription factor (TF), constitutively active growth factor, or ligand-independent receptor tyrosine kinase. Identification of transcriptional targets or signaling pathways modulated by these oncogenic fusions has led to the discovery of potential therapeutic targets. Some of these targets have shown considerable promise in preclinical models and are currently being tested in clinical trials. This review summarizes the molecular pathology of a subset of pediatric sarcomas with tumor-associated translocations and how increased understanding at the molecular level is being translated to novel therapeutic advances.

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