SWI/SNF nucleosome remodellers and cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 Jun 9;11(7):481-92. doi: 10.1038/nrc3068.


SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complexes use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to remodel nucleosomes and to modulate transcription. Growing evidence indicates that these complexes have a widespread role in tumour suppression, as inactivating mutations in several SWI/SNF subunits have recently been identified at a high frequency in a variety of cancers. However, the mechanisms by which mutations in these complexes drive tumorigenesis are unclear. In this Review we discuss the contributions of SWI/SNF mutations to cancer formation, examine their normal functions and discuss opportunities for novel therapeutic interventions for SWI/SNF-mutant cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / physiology
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Helicases / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • Nucleosomes / physiology*
  • SMARCB1 Protein
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • ARID1A protein, human
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Nucleosomes
  • PBRM1 protein, human
  • SMARCB1 Protein
  • SMARCB1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • SMARCA4 protein, human
  • DNA Helicases