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Front Genet. 2012 Apr 30;3:69. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2012.00069. eCollection 2012.

The 8q24 gene desert: an oasis of non-coding transcriptional activity.

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Gene Silencing Section, Genetics Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD, USA.


Understanding the functional effects of the wide-range of aberrant genetic characteristics associated with the human chromosome 8q24 region in cancer remains daunting due to the complexity of the locus. The most logical target for study remains the MYC proto-oncogene, a prominent resident of 8q24 that was first identified more than a quarter of a century ago. However, many of the amplifications, translocation breakpoints, and viral integration sites associated with 8q24 are often found throughout regions surrounding large expanses of the MYC locus that include other transcripts. In addition, chr.8q24 is host to a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with cancer risk. Yet, the lack of a direct correlation between cancer risk alleles and MYC expression has also raised the possibility that MYC is not always the target of these genetic associations. The 8q24 region has been described as a "gene desert" because of the paucity of functionally annotated genes located within this region. Here we review the evidence for the role of other loci within the 8q24 region, most of which are non-coding transcripts, either in concert with MYC or independent of MYC, as possible candidate gene targets in malignancy.


8q24; MYC; PVT1; miR-1204

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