Detection and interpretation of altered methylation patterns in cancer cells

Nat Rev Cancer. 2005 Mar;5(3):223-31. doi: 10.1038/nrc1571.


Epigenetic alterations, such as abnormal DNA-methylation patterns, are associated with many human tumour types. New techniques have been developed to perform genome-wide screening for alterations in DNA-methylation patterns, not only to identify tumour-suppressor genes, but also to find patterns that can be used in diagnosis and prognosis. However, interpretation of differential methylation has proven difficult because the significance of methylation alterations depends on the genomic region, and functions of CpG islands at specific sites have not been fully clarified. What techniques can be used to identify new tumour suppressors and diagnostic markers?

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CpG Islands*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Genetic Markers