The role of DNA methylation in the development and progression of lung adenocarcinoma

Dis Markers. 2007;23(1-2):5-30. doi: 10.1155/2007/985474.

Abstract

Lung cancer, caused by smoking in approximately 87% of cases, is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and Western Europe. Adenocarcinoma is now the most common type of lung cancer in men and women in the United States, and the histological subtype most frequently seen in never-smokers and former smokers. The increasing frequency of adenocarcinoma, which occurs more peripherally in the lung, is thought to be at least partially related to modifications in cigarette manufacturing that have led to a change in the depth of smoke inhalation. The rising incidence of lung adenocarcinoma and its lethal nature underline the importance of understanding the development and progression of this disease. Alterations in DNA methylation are recognized as key epigenetic changes in cancer, contributing to chromosomal instability through global hypomethylation, and aberrant gene expression through alterations in the methylation levels at promoter CpG islands. The identification of sequential changes in DNA methylation during progression and metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma, and the elucidation of their interplay with genetic changes, will broaden our molecular understanding of this disease, providing insights that may be applicable to the development of targeted drugs, as well as powerful markers for early detection and patient classification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*