Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 81 (4), 303-11

Epigenetic Modifications in Cancer

Affiliations
Review

Epigenetic Modifications in Cancer

R Kanwal et al. Clin Genet.

Abstract

Cancer initiation and progression is controlled by both genetic and epigenetic events. The complexity of carcinogenesis cannot be accounted for by genetic alterations alone but also involves epigenetic changes. Epigenetics refers to the study of mechanisms that alter gene expression without altering the primary DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms are heritable and reversible, and include changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications and small noncoding microRNAs (miRNA). Disruption of epigenetic processes can lead to altered gene function and malignant cellular transformation. Aberrant epigenetic modifications probably occur at a very early stage in neoplastic development, and they are widely described as essential players in cancer progression. Recent advances in epigenetics offer a better understanding of the underlying mechanism(s) of carcinogenesis and provide insight into the discovery of putative cancer biomarkers for early detection, disease monitoring, prognosis, and risk assessment. In this review, we summarize the current literature on epigenetic changes causing genetic alterations that are thought to contribute to cancer, and discuss the potential impact of epigenetics future research.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest

Nothing to declare.

Similar articles

  • Cancer Epigenetics: An Introduction
    R Kanwal et al. Methods Mol Biol 1238, 3-25. PMID 25421652. - Review
    Epigenetic and genetic alterations contribute to cancer initiation and progression. Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression without altera …
  • Cancer Epigenetics: Above and Beyond
    M Brait et al. Toxicol Mech Methods 21 (4), 275-88. PMID 21495866. - Review
    Epigenetics refers to the study of mechanisms that alter gene expression without altering the primary DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms are heritable and reversible. Ov …
  • DNA Methylation and microRNA Biomarkers for Noninvasive Detection of Gastric and Colorectal Cancer
    Y Toiyama et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 455 (1-2), 43-57. PMID 25128828. - Review
    Cancer initiation and progression is controlled by both genetic and epigenetic events. Epigenetics refers to the study of mechanisms that alter gene expression without pe …
  • Gene Methylation in Gastric Cancer
    Y Qu et al. Clin Chim Acta 424, 53-65. PMID 23669186. - Review
    Gastric cancer is one of the most common malignancies and remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Over 70% of new cases and deaths occur in de …
  • Epigenetics in Cancer: Targeting Chromatin Modifications
    L Ellis et al. Mol Cancer Ther 8 (6), 1409-20. PMID 19509247. - Review
    Posttranslational modifications to histones affect chromatin structure and function resulting in altered gene expression and changes in cell behavior. Aberrant gene expre …
See all similar articles

Cited by 89 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

Feedback