A study has shown the role DICER1, an important enzyme of the MicroRNA machinery, plays as a tumour suppressor in endometrial carcinoma.
Endometrial carcinoma (EC) is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, but molecular mechanisms of the development and progression of this malignancy remain unclear. Despite advances in cancer therapies, the prognosis is poor for patients with recurrent or advanced EC. Recent research indicates that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the development and progression of cancer.
DNA methylation and histone modifications are important epigenetic modifications that could control gene expression. A study done by Dr. Xiaoping Wan and team at the Tongji University in China showed that DICER1 suppressed SUZ12 and EZH2, the two histone H3K27 methyltransferases that mediate transcriptional repression, expression by directly affecting their upstream MicroRNAs (miRNAs) in EC cells. In addition, knockdown of DICER1 promoted epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion of EC cells via histone hypermethylation and acetylation.
Since epigenetic modifications modulate gene expression without directly modifying genetic sequences, reversing DNA methylation or histone modifications has potential for cancer therapy. The results from this study suggest that DICER1 is a promising epigenetic target for EC treatment.