Mammalian SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin remodeling complexes orchestrate a diverse set of chromatin alterations which impact transcriptional output. Recent whole-exome sequencing efforts have revealed that the genes encoding subunits of mSWI/SNF complexes are mutated in over 20% of cancers, spanning a wide range of tissue types. The majority of mutations result in loss of subunit protein expression, implicating mSWI/SNF subunits as tumor suppressors. mSWI/SNF-deficient cancers remain a therapeutic challenge, owing to a lack of potent and selective agents which target complexes or unique pathway dependencies generated by mSWI/SNF subunit perturbations. Here, we review the current landscape of mechanistic insights and emerging therapeutic opportunities for human malignancies driven by mSWI/SNF complex perturbation.
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