Tobacco and alcohol-induced epigenetic changes in oral carcinoma

Yasmine Ghantous, Juliana L. Schussel, Mariana Brait

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose of review The present review aims to describe the epigenetic alterations observed in oral cancer linked to the exposure to alcohol and/or tobacco. Recent findings Recent findings emphasize the importance of epigenetics in oral cancer progression and in how risk factors (as tobacco and alcohol) affect the basal epigenetic profiles. Deeper techniques and detailed approaches allowed the perception that individual CG changes and even subtle changes may represent important epigenetic alterations resulting in expression changes and other carcinogenic consequences. New classes of epigenetic alterations including noncoding RNAs have been gaining attention. Summary Many epigenetic alterations have been described in oral carcinoma progression induced by tobacco and/or alcohol, including: promoter hypermethylation in genes with tumor suppressive activity, global (genome-wide) hypomethylation, change in methylation patterns throughout the genes, alteration in noncoding RNAs, and histones modifications. These changes represent progress in the knowledge of how these risk factors act in a molecular level. There is an urgent need for large independent studies to move these potential makers further and validate them to identify risk assessment, early diagnostic markers, and therapeutic targets, as well as to be the base for prevention and intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • alcohol
  • epigenetics
  • methylation
  • oral carcinoma
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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