Epigenetics and cancer

Authors:Swati Sarvang
Int J Biol Med Res. 2017; 8(3): 6087-6091  |  PDF File


Abstract : Epigenetic events , most prominently manifested by stable and heritable changes in gene expression that are not due to any alteration in the primary DNA sequence, signify the fundamental molecular principles in which genetic information is organized and read. Epigenetic alterations may play as important or even more prominent role in tumor development, Epigenetic modifications include change in methylation patterns of cytosines in DNA , modifications of the proteins that bind to DNA, and the nucleosome positioning along DNA. These epigenetic marks are tightly and interdependently connected and are essential for the normal development and the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and functions in adult organisms, particularly for X-chromosome inactivation in females, genomic imprinting, silencing of repetitive DNA elements, regulation of chromatin structure, and proper expression of genetic information. In recent years, some research has shifted to focusing on detailing epigenetic contributions to the development and progression of cancer. These changes occur apart from primary genomic sequences and include DNA methylation, histone modifications, and miRNA expression. Epigenetic modulation of gene regulation and cell metabolism processes can be affected by dietary components. Natural compounds with reported mechanisms targeting cancer cell metabolism include micronutrients, polyphenols, genistein, isoflavones, flavonoids, ellagitannin. This review specifically summarizes the main epigenetic mechanisms and their role in cancer