Researchers in China have made a breakthrough in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the development and progression of endometrial cancer.
Endometrial cancer (EC) is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus and is the fourth most common malignancy affecting women worldwide. Despite advances in cancer therapies, prognosis is poor for the patients with recurrent or advanced EC. Recent research has indicated that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the development and progression of cancer. It is known that DNA methylation and histone modifications are important epigenetic modifications that could control gene expression.
A study led by Dr. Xiaoping Wan at the Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital in China investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in the development and progression of EC. Researchers found that DICER1 suppresses SUZ12 and EZH2, which are two histone H3K27 methyltransferases that mediate transcriptional repression, by affecting their upstream MicroRNA synthesis in EC cells. In addition, it inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasion of EC cells via histone modification.
A past study has shown that low DICER1 mRNA levels are correlated with disease recurrence and poor prognosis in EC patients. The results from Dr. Wan’s study, which were published in the Journal of Cancer, suggest that DICER1 is a promising epigenetic target for EC treatment.