Linking the epigenetic 'language' of covalent histone modifications to cancer

Br J Cancer. 2004 Feb 23;90(4):761-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601575.


Covalent modifications of histones, such as acetylation, methylation, and phosphorylation, and other epigenetic modulations of the chromatin, such as methylation of DNA and ATP-dependent chromatin reorganisation, can play a major part in the multistep process of carcinogenesis, with far-reaching implications for human biology and human health. This review focuses on how aberrant covalent histone modifications may contribute to the development of a variety of human cancers, and discusses the recent findings with regard to potential therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Phosphorylation


  • Histones