The epigenetic landscape of renal cancer.

The majority of kidney cancers are associated with mutations in the von Hippel-Lindau gene and a small proportion are associated with infrequent mutations in other well characterized tumour-suppressor genes. In the past 15 years, efforts to uncover other key genes involved in renal cancer have identified many genes that are dysregulated or silenced via epigenetic mechanisms, mainly through methylation of promoter CpG islands or dysregulation of specific microRNAs. In addition, the advent of next-generation sequencing has led to the identification of several novel genes that are mutated in renal cancer, such as PBRM1, BAP1 and SETD2, which are all involved in histone modification and nucleosome and chromatin remodelling. In this Review, we discuss how altered DNA methylation, microRNA dysregulation and mutations in histone-modifying enzymes disrupt cellular pathways in renal cancers.

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