INVITED REVIEW
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 373-380

Roles of the Y chromosome genes in human cancers


Division of Cell and Developmental Genetics, Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Institute for Human Genetics, University of California, San Francisco, California 94121, USA

Correspondence Address:
Yun-Fai Chris Lau
Division of Cell and Developmental Genetics, Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Institute for Human Genetics, University of California, San Francisco, California 94121
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.150842

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Male and female differ genetically by their respective sex chromosome composition, that is, XY as male and XX as female. Although both X and Y chromosomes evolved from the same ancestor pair of autosomes, the Y chromosome harbors male-specific genes, which play pivotal roles in male sex determination, germ cell differentiation, and masculinization of various tissues. Deletions or translocation of the sex-determining gene, SRY, from the Y chromosome causes disorders of sex development (previously termed as an intersex condition) with dysgenic gonads. Failure of gonadal development results not only in infertility, but also in increased risks of germ cell tumor (GCT), such as gonadoblastoma and various types of testicular GCT. Recent studies demonstrate that either loss of Y chromosome or ectopic expression of Y chromosome genes is closely associated with various male-biased diseases, including selected somatic cancers. These observations suggest that the Y-linked genes are involved in male health and diseases in more frequently than expected. Although only a small number of protein-coding genes are present in the male-specific region of Y chromosome, the impacts of Y chromosome genes on human diseases are still largely unknown, due to lack of in vivo models and differences between the Y chromosomes of human and rodents. In this review, we highlight the involvement of selected Y chromosome genes in cancer development in men.


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