Histone acetylation and cancer

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Apr;9(2):171-4. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(99)80026-4.


In the past year, several papers have been published which implicate a link between alterations in chromatin structure and the development of cancer. Both histone hyperacetylation and hypoacetylation appear to be important in the neoplastic process, depending on the target gene involved. In the case of colon cancer, induction of the p21 gene by histone hyperacetylation may be a mechanism by which dietary fiber prevents carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Butyrates / pharmacology
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Cyclins / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Butyrates
  • CDKN1A protein, human
  • Chromatin
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Cyclins
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones