Leukaemogenesis: more than mutant genes

Nat Rev Cancer. 2010 Jan;10(1):23-36. doi: 10.1038/nrc2765.


Acute leukaemias are characterized by recurring chromosomal aberrations and gene mutations that are crucial to disease pathogenesis. It is now evident that epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation and histone modifications, substantially contribute to the phenotype of leukaemia cells. An additional layer of epigenetic complexity is the pathogenetic role of microRNAs in leukaemias, and their key role in the transcriptional regulation of tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes. The genetic heterogeneity of acute leukaemias poses therapeutic challenges, but pharmacological agents that target components of the epigenetic machinery are promising as a component of the therapeutic arsenal for this group of diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / drug therapy
  • Leukemia / genetics*
  • Leukemia / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / therapeutic use
  • Mutation*


  • MicroRNAs