Methods of gene inactivation include genetic events such as mutations or deletions. Epigenetic changes, heritable traits that are mediated by changes in DNA other than nucleotide sequences, play an important role in gene expression. Two epigenetic events that have been associated with transcriptional silencing include methylation of CpG islands located in gene promoter regions of cancer cells and changes in chromatin conformation involving histone acetylation. Recent evidence demonstrates that these processes form layers of epigenetic silencing. Reversal of these epigenetic processes and up-regulation of genes important to prevent or reverse the malignant phenotype has therefore become a new therapeutic target in cancer treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research