Epigenetic silencing of MORT is an early event in cancer and is associated with luminal, receptor positive breast tumor subtypes

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6 Scopus citations


Immortality is an essential characteristic of cancer cells; a recent transcriptomic study of epithelial cell immortalization has linked epigenetic silencing of the long noncoding RNA Mortal Obligate RNA Transcript (MORT; alias ZNF667-AS1) to this process. This study evaluated the epigenetic and transcriptional state of MORT in two premalignant conditions—ductal carcinomas in situ and colon adenomas. Results show that MORT silencing is an early epigenetic event in human carcinogenesis, likely occurring near the point where premalignant cells gain immortality; this epigenetic silencing is maintained throughout malignant transformation and metastatic growth. Additional associations between MORT loss and clinical and molecular features of breast tumors showed that silencing of MORT occurs predominantly in luminal, receptor-positive breast cancer; is associated with overexpression of CCND1 and mutations of GATA3; and is negatively correlated with TP53 mutations. Taken in toto, MORT silencing occurs early in breast carcinogenesis, probably during cellular immortalization, and precedes the development of invasive luminal breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-202
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Breast Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017



  • Breast neoplasms
  • Carcinogenesis
  • DNA methylation
  • Gene silencing
  • Long noncoding RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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