Heterozygous disruption of Hic1 predisposes mice to a gender-dependent spectrum of malignant tumors

WenYong Chen, Xiaobei Zeng, Mark G Carter, Craig N Morrell, Ray-Whay Chiu Yen, Manel Esteller, David Neil Watkins, James G Herman, Joseph L Mankowski, Stephen B Baylin

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182 Citations (Scopus)


The gene hypermethylated in cancer-1 (HIC1) encodes a zinc-finger transcription factor that belongs to a group of proteins known as the POZ family. HIC1 is hypermethylated and transcriptionally silent in several types of human cancer. Homozygous disruption of Hic1 impairs development and results in embryonic and perinatal lethality in mice. Here we show that mice disrupted in the germ line for only one allele of Hic1 develop many different spontaneous malignant tumors, including a predominance of epithelial cancers in males and lymphomas and sarcomas in females. The complete loss of Hic1 function in the heterozygous mice seems to involve dense methylation of the promoter of the remaining wild-type allele. We conclude that HIC1 is a candidate tumor-suppressor gene for which loss of function in both mouse and human cancers is associated only with epigenetic modifications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197 - 202
Number of pages6
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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