DNA helicases involved in DNA repair and their roles in cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Aug;13(8):542-58. doi: 10.1038/nrc3560. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


Helicases have major roles in genome maintenance by unwinding structured nucleic acids. Their prominence is marked by various cancers and genetic disorders that are linked to helicase defects. Although considerable effort has been made to understand the functions of DNA helicases that are important for genomic stability and cellular homeostasis, the complexity of the DNA damage response leaves us with unanswered questions regarding how helicase-dependent DNA repair pathways are regulated and coordinated with cell cycle checkpoints. Further studies may open the door to targeting helicases in order to improve cancer treatments based on DNA-damaging chemotherapy or radiation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Helicases / physiology*
  • DNA Repair / physiology*
  • Genomic Instability / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • DNA Helicases