Transposable elements: The enemies within Review uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Neoplasms


  • Understanding transformation mechanisms other than genetic aberrations has recently captured the attention of cancer researchers. To date, the role of transposable elements (TEs) in tumor development remains largely undefined. However, an increasing number of studies have reported that loss of epigenetic control causes TE reactivation and consequent oncogenic transcription. Here, we discuss principal examples of TEs-driven oncogenesis. Available data suggest that long terminal repeats and long interspersed nuclear elements play a pivotal role as alternative promoters. These findings provide definitive experimental evidence that repetitive elements are a powerful underestimated force toward oncogenesis and open the possibility to new therapeutic treatments.

publication date

  • May 6, 2016



  • Review



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.exphem.2016.06.251

PubMed ID

  • 27377925

Additional Document Info