Frequent question: What is the role of epigenetics in cancer?


How can epigenetics cure cancer?

It is well accepted that epigenetic inactivation of drug sensitivity genes is one of the causes of the complex process by which tumor cells acquire drug resistance to cytotoxic drugs. The hypothesis is that reactivation of these genes by the epigenetic drugs will sensitize the tumors to chemotherapy.

What is the evidence that epigenetic changes are involved in cancer?

In addition to aberrant DNA methylation, recent discoveries have revealed that deregulation of histone modifications and chromatin remodelling is also implicated in cancer. The histone modifications usually occur at the N-terminal ‘tails’ of histones protruding from nucleosomes (building blocks of chromatin).

What is an example of epigenetics?

Examples of epigenetics

Epigenetic changes alter the physical structure of DNA. One example of an epigenetic change is DNA methylation — the addition of a methyl group, or a “chemical cap,” to part of the DNA molecule, which prevents certain genes from being expressed. Another example is histone modification.

Why is it important to study epigenetics?

Epigenetics and Development

All your cells have the same genes but look and act differently. As you grow and develop, epigenetics helps determine which function a cell will have, for example, whether it will become a heart cell, nerve cell, or skin cell.

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How will epigenetics influence cancer prevention and treatment?

Epigenetic regulation of genes is essential for health, and flaws can lead to cancer and other diseases. But the flaws themselves could potentially be used to detect and even prevent tumors. For example, the gene GSTP1 normally protects cells from damage by environmental toxins.

How does methylation cause cancer?

Methylation within the promoter regions of tumor suppressor genes causes their silencing, and methylation within the gene itself can induce mutational events. These mechanisms may play a fundamental role in precipitating the development of a large and diverse number of human cancers.

What are examples of epigenetic inheritance?

Another example of epigenetic inheritance, discovered about 10 years ago in mammals, is parental imprinting. In parental imprinting, certain autosomal genes have seemingly unusual inheritance patterns. For example, the mouse Igf2 gene is expressed in a mouse only if it was inherited from the mouse’s father.

What does epigenetics mean literally?

Epigenetics is an emerging field of science that studies heritable changes caused by the activation and deactivation of genes without any change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism. The word epigenetics is of Greek origin and literally means over and above (epi) the genome.