Epigenetic signatures in breast cancer: Clinical perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is now a compelling body of evidences sustaining the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in the development and progression of cancer. DNA methylation, post-translational histone and other protein modifications, microRNA expression, and nucleosome positioning, all act together to exert their cellular effects. The epigenome is responsible for controlling gene expression thus defining cell differentiation and tissue specificity. This review will focus on DNA methylation and histone modification because these epigenetic events are widely implicated in cancer development and progression. We will in particular address the translational aspects of breast cancer epigenomics including the development of biomarkers and the prospects for epigenetic based pharmacologic treatments. The analysis of DNA methylation has the advantage over other molecular methods (e.g. single gene mutation, microsatellite analysis) that it can be detected with a very high degree of specificity even in the presence of excess unmethylated DNA. Furthermore, the presence of specific CpG methylation signatures makes methylation-based markers attractive diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive tools for better management of breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Care
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • Early detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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