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Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jul;46(3):209-22. doi: 10.4143/crt.2014.46.3.209. Epub 2014 Jul 15.

Regulation and Role of EZH2 in Cancer.

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1
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Abstract

Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is the epigenetic regulator that induces histone H3 lysine 27 methylation (H3K27me3) and silences specific gene transcription. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is an enzymatic subunit of PRC2, and evidence shows that EZH2 plays an essential role in cancer initiation, development, progression, metastasis, and drug resistance. EZH2 expression is indeed regulated by various oncogenic transcription factors, tumor suppressor miRNAs, and cancer-associated non-coding RNA. EZH2 activity is also controlled by post-translational modifications, which are deregulated in cancer. The canonical role of EZH2 is gene silencing through H3K27me3, but accumulating evidence shows that EZH2 methlyates substrates other than histone and has methylase-independent functions. These non-canonical functions of EZH2 are shown to play a role in cancer progression. In this review, we summarize current information on the regulation and roles of EZH2 in cancer. We also discuss various therapeutic approaches to targeting EZH2.

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