Table of Contents
Molecular Biology International
Volume 2012, Article ID 365213, 12 pages
Review Article

RASSF1 Polymorphisms in Cancer

1Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, 3-055 Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research, 113 Street 87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2E1
2Women and Children's Health Research Institute, University of Alberta, 4-081 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, 11405-87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 1C9

Received 3 February 2012; Accepted 1 March 2012

Academic Editor: Geoffrey J. Clark

Copyright © 2012 Marilyn Gordon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ras association domain family 1A (RASSF1A) is one of the most epigenetically silenced elements in human cancers. Localized on chromosome 3, it has been demonstrated to be a bone fide tumor suppressor influencing cell cycle events, microtubule stability, apoptosis, and autophagy. Although it is epigenetically silenced by promoter-specific methylation in cancers, several somatic nucleotide changes (polymorphisms) have been identified in RASSF1A in tissues from cancer patients. We speculate that both nucleotide changes and epigenetic silencing result in loss of the RASSF1A tumor suppressor function and the appearance of enhanced growth. This paper will summarize what is known about the origin of these polymorphisms and how they have helped us understand the biological role of RASSF1A.