Histone methyltransferase SETD2: a potential tumor suppressor in solid cancers

J Cancer. 2020 Mar 5;11(11):3349-3356. doi: 10.7150/jca.38391. eCollection 2020.


Epigenetic regulation plays an important role in the occurrence, development and treatment of malignant tumors; and a great deal of attention has been paid to the histone methylation level in recent years. As a 230-kD epigenetic regulator, the histone H3 lysine 36 histone (H3K36) methyltransferase SETD2 is a key enzyme of the nuclear receptor SET domain-containing (NSD) family, which is associated with a specific hyperphosphorylated domain, a large subunit of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), named RNAPII subunit B1 (RPB1), and SETD2 which methylates the ly-36 position of dimethylated histone H3 (H3K36me2) to generate trimethylated H3K36 (H3K36me3). SETD2 is involved in various cellular processes, including transcriptional regulation, DNA damage repair, non-histone protein-related functions and some other processes. Great efforts of high-throughput sequencing have revealed that SETD2 is mutated or its function is lost in a range of solid cancers, including renal cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, osteosarcoma, and so on. Mutation, or functional loss, of the SETD2 gene produces dysfunction in corresponding tumor tissue proteins, leading to tumorigenesis, progression, chemotherapy resistance, and unfavorable prognosis, suggesting that SETD2 possibly acts as a tumor suppressor. However, its underlying mechanism remains largely unexplored. In the present study, we summarized the latest advances of effects of SETD2 expression at the mRNA and protein levels in solid cancers, and its potential molecular and cellular functions as well as clinical applications were also reviewed.

Keywords: Mutation; SETD2; Solid cancers; Tumor suppressor.

Publication types

  • Review