DNA methylation and histone modifications in patients with cancer: potential prognostic and therapeutic targets

Methods Mol Biol. 2007;361:25-62. doi: 10.1385/1-59745-208-4:25.


Epigenetics, a combination of DNA modifications, chromatin organization, and variations in its associated proteins, configure a new entity that regulates gene expression throughout methylation, acetylation, and chromatin remodeling. In addition to silencing as a result of mutations, loss of heterozygosity, or classical genetic events epigenetic modification symbolizes essential early events during carcinogenesis and tumor development. The reversion of these epigenetic processes restoring normal expression of tumor-suppressor genes has consequently become a new therapeutic target in cancer treatment. Aberrant patterns of epigenetic modifications will be, in a near future, crucial parameters in cancer diagnosis and prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation / drug effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / drug effects
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic* / drug effects
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Methylation / drug effects
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / drug effects
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Histones
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins