Polycomb group proteins: navigators of lineage pathways led astray in cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 Nov;9(11):773-84. doi: 10.1038/nrc2736.


The Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are transcriptional repressors that regulate lineage choices during development and differentiation. Recent studies have advanced our understanding of how the PcG proteins regulate cell fate decisions and how their deregulation potentially contributes to cancer. In this Review we discuss the emerging roles of long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and a subset of transcription factors, which we call cell fate transcription factors, in the regulation of PcG association with target genes. We also speculate about how their deregulation contributes to tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors