Aberrant DNA methylation is a critically important modification in cancer cells, which, through promoter and enhancer DNA methylation changes, use this mechanism to activate oncogenes and silence of tumor-suppressor genes. Targeting DNA methylation in cancer using DNA hypomethylating drugs reprograms tumor cells to a more normal-like state by affecting multiple pathways, and also sensitizes these cells to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The first generation hypomethylating drugs azacitidine and decitabine are routinely used for the treatment of myeloid leukemias and a next-generation drug (guadecitabine) is currently in clinical trials. This review will summarize preclinical and clinical data on DNA hypomethylating drugs as a cancer therapy.
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