Cancer is the second leading cause of death today, accounting for nearly 1 in 6 deaths worldwide. Despite this, diagnosis and treatment models for cancer are limited and as such, new methods to identify and treat susceptible patients are required urgently. HLAF- adjacent transcript 10 (FAT10) is an oncogene that is strongly implicated in the
development of inflammation-associated cancers. Previous research on this highly polymorphic gene has identified 2 haplotypes – the reference haplotype, which is found in both cancer patients and healthy individuals, as well as an additional haplotype that is occurs at higher frequency in cancer patients and is associated with higher odds of cancer. In this study, it was hypothesised that the cancer-associated FAT10 haplotype can better promote tumorigenicity and could thereby serve as a useful biomarker for cancer. Here, we functionally characterize the 2 FAT10 haplotypes to understand how they influence
some of the hallmarks of cancer. The cancer-exclusive haplotype was observed to enhance hallmarks of cancer, namely uncontrolled cell growth, resisting cell death and anchorage-independent growth as compared to the reference haplotype. Moreover, we uncovered the differential gene expression patterns induced by each haplotype.
Molecules involved in cell adhesion and proliferation, as well as transcription were upregulated by the cancer-associated haplotype and hence could have contributed to the increased tumourigenic potential of the cancer haplotype.