Dysregulation of the TET family of epigenetic regulators in lymphoid and myeloid malignancies

Blood. 2019 Oct 31;134(18):1487-1497. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019791475.


DNA methylation has pivotal regulatory roles in mammalian development, retrotransposon silencing, genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, and cancer. Cancer cells display highly dysregulated DNA methylation profiles, characterized by global hypomethylation in conjunction with hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands; these changes are often correlated with promoter hypermethylation, leading to decreased expression of tumor suppressor genes, as well as with genome instability, leading to amplification and aberrant expression of oncogenes. Ten-eleven-translocation (TET) proteins are α-ketoglutarate (α-KG)-dependent dioxygenases that oxidize 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) and the additional oxidation products 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC); together, these oxidized methylcytosines are intermediates in DNA demethylation. TET2 is frequently mutated in diverse lymphoid and myeloid cancers, and TET loss of function is often observed in the absence of coding region mutations in TET genes. Despite our understanding of the biochemical activities of TET proteins, how TET loss of function promotes the onset and progression of hematopoietic malignancies is largely unknown. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the role of TET enzymes in lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms and highlight the importance of metabolic alterations that decrease TET activity in cancer initiation and progression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mutation


  • DNA-Binding Proteins