Synthetic lethality and cancer
A synthetic lethal interaction occurs between two genes when the perturbation of either gene alone is viable but the perturbation of both genes simultaneously results in the loss of viability. Key to exploiting synthetic lethality in cancer treatment are the identification and the mechanistic characterization of robust synthetic lethal genetic interactions. Advances in next-generation sequencing technologies are enabling the identification of hundreds of tumour-specific mutations and alterations in gene expression that could be targeted by a synthetic lethality approach. The translation of synthetic lethality to therapy will be assisted by the synthesis of genetic interaction data from model organisms, tumour genomes and human cell lines.
Nat Rev Gen 2017;18:613–623. doi:10.1038/nrg.2017.47