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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 535-544

Role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in brain tumors: A mini-review

Department of Neurosciences, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Abdul Aziz Mohamed Yusoff
Department of Neurosciences, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.161925

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Brain tumor is molecularly a heterogeneous group of diseases, and genetic factors seem to play a crucial role in its genesis. Even though multiple alterations in the nuclear-encoded genes such as tumor suppressor and oncogenes are believed to play a key role in brain tumorigenesis, the involvement of the mitochondrial genome to this event remains controversial to date. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been suspected to be associated with the carcinogenesis because of its high sensitivity to mutations and inefficient repair mechanisms in comparison to nuclear DNA. Thus, defects in mtDNA could also lead to the development of brain tumor. By virtue of their clonal nature and high copy number, mtDNA mutations may provide a new effective molecular biomarker for the cancer detection. It has been suggested that establishing mtDNA defective pattern might be useful in cancer diagnostics and detection, the prognosis of cancer outcome, and/or the response to certain treatments. This mini-review gives a brief overview on the several aspects of mtDNA, with a particular focus on its role in tumorigenesis and progression of brain tumor. Understanding the role of mitochondria and brain tumor development could potentially translate into therapeutic strategies for patients with these tumors.

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