The high mobility group A1 molecular switch: Turning on cancer-can we turn it off?

Tait H. Huso, Linda M.S. Resar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Introduction: Emerging evidence demonstrates that the high mobility group A1 (HMGA1) chromatin remodeling protein is a key molecular switch required by cancer cells for tumor progression and a poorly differentiated, stem-like state. Because the HMGA1 gene and proteins are expressed at high levels in all aggressive tumors studied to date, research is needed to determine how to 'turn off' this master regulatory switch in cancer. Areas covered: In this review, we describe prior studies that underscore the central role of HMGA1 in refractory cancers and we discuss approaches to target HMGA1 in cancer therapy. Expert opinion: Given the widespread overexpression of HMGA1 in diverse, aggressive tumors, further research to develop technology to target HMGA1 holds immense promise as potent anticancer therapy. Previous work in preclinical models indicates that delivery of short hairpin RNA or interfering RNA molecules to 'switch off' HMGA1 expression dramatically impairs cancer cell growth and tumor progression. The advent of nanoparticle technology to systemically deliver DNA or RNA molecules to tumors brings this approach even closer to clinical applications, although further efforts are needed to translate these advances into therapies for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-553
Number of pages13
JournalExpert opinion on therapeutic targets
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • High mobility group A1
  • High mobility group A1 protein
  • Molecular switch
  • Therapeutic target
  • Tumor progression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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