Retroelements have been considered as “Junk” DNA although the encyclopedia of DNA elements (ENCODE) project has demonstrated that most of the genome is functional. Since the contribution of LINE1 (L1) and human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) has been suspected to cause human cancers, their regulations and putative molecular functions have been investigated in diverse types of cancer. Their diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic potentials have been incessantly proposed using cancer associated or specific properties, such as hypomethylation, increased transcripts, and reverse transcriptase, as well as cancer-associated antigens. This chapter presents the current knowledge on retroelements in various aspects during tumorigenesis and their clinical usage in many cancer studies.
Part of the book: Methods in Molecular Medicine