We characterized the epigenetic landscape of genes encoding long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) across 6,475 tumors and 455 cancer cell lines. In stark contrast to the CpG island hypermethylation phenotype in cancer, we observed a recurrent hypomethylation of 1,006 lncRNA genes in cancer, including EPIC1 (epigenetically-induced lncRNA1). Overexpression of EPIC1 is associated with poor prognosis in luminal B breast cancer patients and enhances tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, EPIC1 promotes cell-cycle progression by interacting with MYC through EPIC1's 129–283 nt region. EPIC1 knockdown reduces the occupancy of MYC to its target genes (e.g., CDKN1A, CCNA2, CDC20, and CDC45). MYC depletion abolishes EPIC1's regulation of MYC target and luminal breast cancer tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. Wang et al. characterize the epigenetic landscape of lncRNAs genes across a large number of human tumors and cancer cell lines and observe recurrent hypomethylation of lncRNA genes, including EPIC1. EPIC1 RNA promotes cell-cycle progression by interacting with MYC and enhancing its binding to target genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-720.e9
JournalCancer Cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 9 2018


  • CIMP
  • ENSG00000224271
  • EPIC1
  • LOC284930
  • MYC
  • P21
  • TCGA pan-cancer
  • breast cancer
  • long noncoding RNA


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