Named the “caretakers” of the genome, RecQ helicases function in several pathways to maintain genomic stability and repair DNA. This highly conserved family of enzymes consist of five different proteins in humans: RECQL1, BLM, WRN, RECQL4, and RECQL5. Biallelic germline mutations in BLM, WRN, and RECQL4 have been linked to rare cancer-predisposing syndromes. Emerging research has also implicated somatic alterations in RecQ helicases in a variety of cancers, including hematological malignancies, breast cancer, osteosarcoma, amongst others. These alterations in RecQ helicases, particularly overexpression, may lead to increased resistance of cancer cells to conventional chemotherapy. Downregulation of these proteins may allow for increased sensitivity to chemotherapy, and, therefore, may be important therapeutic targets. Here we provide a comprehensive review of our current understanding of the role of RecQ DNA helicases in cancer and discuss the potential therapeutic opportunities in targeting these helicases.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Cancer Research Centre