Cancer and meiotic gene expression: Two sides of the same coin?

Ieng Fong Sou, Geert Hamer, Wee-Wei Tee, Gerben Vader, Urszula Lucja McClurg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Meiosis increases genetic diversity in offspring by generating genetically unique haploid gametes with reshuffled chromosomes. This process requires a specialized set of meiotic proteins, which facilitate chromosome recombination and segregation. However, re-expression of meiotic proteins in mitosis can have catastrophic oncogenic consequences and aberrant expression of meiotic proteins is a common occurrence in human tumors. Mechanistically, re-activation of meiotic genes in cancer promotes oncogenesis likely because cancers—conversely to healthy mitosis—are fueled by genetic instability which promotes tumor evolution, and evasion of immune response and treatment pressure. In this review, we explore similarities between meiotic and cancer cells with a particular focus on the oncogenic activation of meiotic genes in cancer. We emphasize the role of histones and their modifications, DNA methylation, genome organization, R-loops and the availability of distal enhancers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
EditorsFrancesca Cole
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780128201565
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology


  • Cancer
  • Cancer testis antigen
  • Chromatin
  • Germ cell cancer gene
  • Meiosis
  • R-loop
  • Synaptonemal complex
  • TAD
  • Topologically associated domain
  • Transcription

Cite this