Deciphering the Role of the Barr Body in Malignancy: An insight into head and neck cancer

Deepti Sharma, George Koshy, Shruti Gupta, Bhushan Sharma, Sonal Grover


X chromosome inactivation is the epitome of epigenetic regulation and long non-coding ribonucleic acid function. The differentiation status of cells has been ascribed to X chromosome activity, with two active X chromosomes generally only observed in undifferentiated or poorly differentiated cells. Recently, several studies have indicated that the reactivation of an inactive X chromosome or X chromosome multiplication correlates with the development of malignancy; however, this concept is still controversial. This review sought to shed light on the role of the X chromosome in cancer development. In particular, there is a need for further exploration of the expression patterns of X-linked genes in cancer cells, especially those in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), in order to identify different prognostic subpopulations with distinct clinical implications. This article proposes a functional relationship between the loss of the Barr body and the disproportional expression of X-linked genes in HNSCC development.


Sex Chromatin; X Chromosome; Lyonization; X-Linked Genes; Cell Differentiation; Cancer; Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Head And Neck.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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