Invited Review: The role and contribution of transcriptional enhancers in brain cancer

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2020 Feb;46(1):48-56. doi: 10.1111/nan.12612. Epub 2020 Mar 24.


Genetic alterations identified across several paediatric and adult brain tumours reveal recurrent disruption of active chromatin landscapes and dysregulation of transcriptional programmes. Noncoding elements, specifically enhancers, are central to these mechanisms, and are influenced by developmental and neural gene regulatory signatures. Epigenomic and transcriptomic methods and techniques have facilitated detection of active enhancers, and characterization of brain tumours integrated with genomic structural information. These datasets have provided new insights into the mechanisms of transcriptional control that are profoundly altered in childhood and adult brain cancer; offering new ideas and molecular targets for therapeutic intervention. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of active transcriptional programmes of brain cancer, their impact on tumour development, and research areas for further exploration.

Keywords: Brain; Chromatin; Enhancers; Epigenetics; Therapy; Transcription; Transcription Factor; Tumour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Chromatin* / genetics
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic* / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics


  • Chromatin
  • Transcription Factors