Cancer-associated chromatin variants uncover the oncogenic role of transposable elements

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2022 Jun;74:101911. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2022.101911. Epub 2022 Apr 26.


The vast array of cell states found across human tissue arises from chromatin variants, which correspond to segments of the genome, known as DNA elements, adopting a different chromatin state over cell state transitions. Oncogenesis stems from alterations to the chromatin states over DNA elements that result in cancer-associated chromatin variants. Here, we review how cancer-associated chromatin variants call attention to repetitive DNA elements, and guide the functional characterization of transposable elements to decode their role in oncogenesis. We further discuss prevailing opportunities in the study of repetitive DNA elements to move towards the 'complete cancer genome' goal for precision medicine in oncology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Transposable Elements* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / genetics


  • Chromatin
  • DNA Transposable Elements