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Front. Endocrinol. | doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00104


  • 1Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Fragilidad y Envejecimiento Saludable (CIBERFES), Spain
  • 2Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biology,University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3Hospital Universitario San Cecilio, Spain
  • 4Biomedical Research Center (CIBM), Spain
  • 5School of Agriculture and Environment, Faculty of Science, University of Western Australia, Australia
  • 6Departamento de Bioquímica, Biología Celular y Molecular de Plantas, Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ), Spain
  • 7Centro de Genómica e Investigación Oncológica, Junta de Andalucía de Genómica e Investigación Oncológica (GENYO), Spain

A major consequence of the world industrialized lifestyle is the increasing period of unnatural light in environments during the day and artificial lighting at night. This major change disrupts endogenous homeostasis with external circadian cues, which has been associated to higher risk of diseases affecting human health, mainly cancer among others. Circadian disruption promotes tumor development and accelerate its fast progression.

The dysregulation mechanisms of circadian genes is greatly affected by the genetic variability of these genes. To date, several core circadian genes, also called circadian clock genes, have been identified, comprising the following: ARNTL, CLOCK, CRY1, CRY2, CSNK1E, NPAS2, NR1D1, NR1D2, PER1, PER2, PER3, RORA and TIMELESS. The polymorphic variants of these circadian genes might contribute to an individual’s risk to cancer.

In this short review, we focused on clock circadian clock-related genes, major contributors of the susceptibility to endocrine-dependent cancers through affecting circadian clock, most likely affecting hormonal regulation. We examined polymorphisms affecting breast, prostate and ovarian carcinogenesis, in addition to pancreatic and thyroid cancer.
Further study of the genetic composition in circadian clock-controlled tumors will be of great importance by stablishing the foundation to discover novel genetic biomarkers for cancer prevention, prognosis and target therapies.

Keywords: polymorphism, circadian clock genes, Endocrine cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, thyroid cancer

Received: 30 Sep 2018; Accepted: 04 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Veronica Vella, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy

Reviewed by:

Paola Defilippi, University of Turin, Italy
Barbara Belletti, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano (IRCCS), Italy  

Copyright: © 2019 Morales-Santana, Morell, Leon, Carazo-Gallego, Jimenez-Lopez and Morell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
PhD. Sonia Morales-Santana, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Fragilidad y Envejecimiento Saludable (CIBERFES), Madrid, Spain,
PhD. Santiago Morell, Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biology,University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom,