International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-017-2283-4 Pages: 335-344

Recent insights into the molecular basis of Fanconi anemia: genes, modifiers, and drivers

1. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Division of Human Biology

2. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Division of Public Health Sciences

3. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Division of Clinical Research

4. Tokai University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Life Science

Correspondence to:
Toshiyasu Taniguchi
Tel: +81-463-93-1121
Email: ttanigu-tky@umin.ac.jp

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Abstract

Fanconi anemia (FA), the most common form of inherited bone marrow failure, predisposes to leukemia and solid tumors. FA is caused by the genetic disruption of a cellular pathway that repairs DNA interstrand crosslinks. The impaired function of this pathway, and the genetic instability that results, is considered the main pathogenic mechanism behind this disease. The identification of breast cancer susceptibility genes (for example, BRCA1/FANCS and BRCA2/FANCD1) as being major players in the FA pathway has led to a surge in molecular studies, resulting in the concept of the FA-BRCA pathway. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the molecular pathogenesis of FA from three viewpoints: (a) new FA genes, (b) modifier pathways that influence the cellular and clinical phenotypes of FA and (c) non-canonical functions of FA genes that may drive disease progression independently of deficient DNA repair. Potential therapeutic approaches for FA that are relevant to each will also be proposed.

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