International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Dec 2020)

Pathogenic Impacts of Dysregulated Polycomb Repressive Complex Function in Hematological Malignancies

  • Satoshi Kaito,
  • Atsushi Iwama

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
p. 74


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Polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs) are epigenetic regulators that mediate repressive histone modifications. PRCs play a pivotal role in the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells through repression of target genes involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. Next-generation sequencing technologies have revealed that various hematologic malignancies harbor mutations in PRC2 genes, such as EZH2, EED, and SUZ12, and PRC1.1 genes, such as BCOR and BCORL1. Except for the activating EZH2 mutations detected in lymphoma, most of these mutations compromise PRC function and are frequently associated with resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and poor prognosis. Recent studies have shown that mutations in PRC genes are druggable targets. Several PRC2 inhibitors, including EZH2-specific inhibitors and EZH1 and EZH2 dual inhibitors have shown therapeutic efficacy for tumors with and without activating EZH2 mutations. Moreover, EZH2 loss-of-function mutations appear to be attractive therapeutic targets for implementing the concept of synthetic lethality. Further understanding of the epigenetic dysregulation associated with PRCs in hematological malignancies should improve treatment outcomes.