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, 3 (7), 2022-2044

Demethylating Agents in the Treatment of Cancer


Demethylating Agents in the Treatment of Cancer

Paul M Howell et al. Pharmaceuticals (Basel).


Gene silencing resulting from aberrant DNA methylation can lead to tumorigenesis. Therefore, drugs that inhibit or interfere with DNA methylation have been used to reactivate and induce silenced gene re-expression in malignancies. Two demethylating agents, azacitidine and decitabine, are approved for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are now considered the standard of care in MDS. In this review, we discuss clinical data, including clinical benefits and toxicities, which led to the approval of azacitidine and decitabine. We also summarize findings from clinical trials that used these two demethylating agents in the treatment of solid tumors. Lastly, we discuss some limitations in the use of azacitidine and decitabine in cancer therapy.

Keywords: azacitidine; cancer; decitabine; epigenetics; methylation.

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