aberrant methylation in cancer
Thursday 29 October 2015
Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, DNA hydroxymethylation, post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histone proteins affecting nucleosome remodelling, and regulation by small and large non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) work in concert with cis and trans acting elements to drive appropriate gene expression.
Advances in detection methods and development of dedicated platforms and methylation arrays resulted in an explosion of information on aberrantly methylated sequences linking deviations in epigenetic landscape with the initiation and progression of complex diseases.
DNA methylation changes in malignancies, such as breast, pancreatic, colorectal, and gastric cancer could be exploited for the purpose of developing specific diagnostic tools.
Methylation signatures are already proving to be an important marker for determination of drug sensitivity.
Even more, promoter methylation patterns of some genes, such as MGMT, SHOX2, and SEPT9, have already been translated into commercial clinical assays aiding in patient assessment as adjunct diagnostic tools.
The changes in DNA methylation patterns in tumour cells are slowly gaining entrance into routine diagnostic tests as promising biomarkers and as potential therapeutic targets.