Nuclear dreams: the malignant alteration of nuclear architecture

J Cell Biochem. 1998 Aug 1;70(2):172-80.


Cancer is diagnosed by examining the architectural alterations to cells and tissues. Changes in nuclear structure are among the most universal of these and include increases in nuclear size, deformities in nuclear shape, and changes in the internal organization of the nucleus. These may all reflect changes in the nuclear matrix, a non-chromatin nuclear scaffolding determining nuclear form, higher order chromatin folding, and the spatial organization of nucleic acid metabolism. Malignancy-induced changes in this structure may have profound effects on chromatin folding, on the fidelity of genome replication, and on gene expression. Elucidating the mechanisms and the biological consequences of nuclear changes will require the identification of the major structural molecules of the internal nuclear matrix and an understanding of their assembly into structural elements. If biochemical correlates to malignant alterations in nuclear structure can be identified then nuclear matrix proteins and, perhaps nuclear matrix-associated structural RNAs, may be an attractive set of diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Nuclear Matrix / metabolism
  • Nuclear Matrix / ultrastructure
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Nuclear / metabolism


  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Nuclear