Histone onco-modifications

Oncogene. 2011 Aug 4;30(31):3391-403. doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.121. Epub 2011 Apr 25.


Post-translational modification of histones provides an important regulatory platform for processes such as gene expression, DNA replication and repair, chromosome condensation and segregation and apoptosis. Disruption of these processes has been linked to the multistep process of carcinogenesis. We review the aberrant covalent histone modifications observed in cancer, and discuss how these epigenetic changes, caused by alterations in histone-modifying enzymes, can contribute to the development of a variety of human cancers. As a conclusion, a new terminology 'histone onco-modifications' is proposed to describe post-translational modifications of histones, which have been linked to cancer. This new term would take into account the active contribution and importance of these histone modifications in the development and progression of cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA Repair
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Silencing
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Oncogene Proteins