The epigenetic integrator UHRF1: on the road to become a universal biomarker for cancer

Waseem Ashraf, Abdulkhaleg Ibrahim, Mahmoud Alhosin, Liliyana Zaayter, Khalid Ouararhni, Christophe Papin, Tanveer Ahmad, Ali Hamiche, Yves Mély, Christian Bronner and Marc Mousli _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:51946-51962. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17393

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Waseem Ashraf1, Abdulkhaleg Ibrahim2, Mahmoud Alhosin3,4,5, Liliyana Zaayter1, Khalid Ouararhni2, Christophe Papin2, Tanveer Ahmad1, Ali Hamiche2, Yves Mély1, Christian Bronner2,* and Marc Mousli1,*

1 Laboratory of Biophotonics and Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Strasbourg, Illkirch, France

2 Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Strasbourg, Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France

3 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

4 Cancer Metabolism and Epigenetic Unit, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

5 Cancer and Mutagenesis Unit, King Fahd Centre for Medical Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

* These authors are co-last authors

Correspondence to:

Marc Mousli, email:

Keywords: cancer, biomarkers, epigenetics, UHRF1, DNA methylation

Received: February 03, 2017 Accepted: April 02, 2017 Published: April 24, 2017


Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world causing record number of mortalities in both developed and undeveloped countries. Despite a lot of advances and breakthroughs in the field of oncology still, it is very hard to diagnose and treat the cancers at early stages. Here in this review we analyze the potential of Ubiquitin-like containing PHD and Ring Finger domain 1 (UHRF1) as a universal biomarker for cancers. UHRF1 is an important epigenetic regulator maintaining DNA methylation and histone code in the cell. It is highly expressed in a variety of cancers and is a well-known oncogene that can disrupt the epigenetic code and override the senescence machinery. Many studies have validated UHRF1 as a powerful diagnostic and prognostic tool to differentially diagnose cancer, predict the therapeutic response and assess the risk of tumor progression and recurrence. Highly sensitive, non-invasive and cost effective approaches are therefore needed to assess the level of UHRF1 in patients, which can be deployed in diagnostic laboratories to detect cancer and monitor disease progression.

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