Roles of FHIT and WWOX fragile genes in cancer

Iliopoulos D., Guler G. , Han S., Druck T., Ottey M., McCorkell K., ...More

CANCER LETTERS, vol.232, no.1, pp.27-36, 2006 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 232 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.06.048
  • Title of Journal : CANCER LETTERS
  • Page Numbers: pp.27-36


It was hypothesized as early as 1986, that the recently discovered common fragile sites could facilitate recombination events, such as deletions and translocations, that result in clonally expanded cancer cell populations with specific chromosome alterations in specific cancer types. A natural extension of this hypothesis is that the clonal expansion must be driven by alteration of genes at recombination breakpoints whose altered functions actually drive clonal expansion. Nevertheless, when the FHIT gene was discovered at FRA3B, the most active common chromosome fragile region, and proposed as an example of a tumor suppressor gene altered by chromosome translocations and deletions, a wave of reports suggested that the FHIT gene was altered in cancer simply because it was in a fragile region and not because it had contributed to the clonal expansion, thus turning the original hypothesis upside down. Now, after nearly ten years and more than 500 FHIT reports, it is apparent that FHIT is an important tumor suppressor gene and that there are genes at other fragile regions that contribute significantly to development of cancer. A second fragile gene with a demonstrated role in cancer development is the WWOX gene on chromosome 16q; alterations to the WWOX gene contribute to development of hormone responsive and other cancers. Results of our recent studies of these two fragile tumor suppressor genes were summarized at the first Fragilome meeting in Heidelberg, Feb. 2005. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.