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Epigenetic mechanisms in cancer: push and pull between kneaded erasers and fate writers

Authors Farooqi AA, Tang JY, Li RN, Ismail M, Chang YT, Shu CW, Yuan SSF, Liu JR, Mansoor Q, Huang CJ, Chang HW

Received 10 February 2015

Accepted for publication 31 March 2015

Published 24 April 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 3183—3191

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S82527

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J Webster

Ammad Ahmad Farooqi,1 Jen-Yang Tang,2–4 Ruei-Nian Li,5 Muhammad Ismail,1 Yung-Ting Chang,6 Chih-Wen Shu,7 Shyng-Shiou F Yuan,8,9 Jing-Ru Liu,5 Qaisar Mansoor,1 Chih-Jen Huang,2,3,* Hsueh-Wei Chang5,9–11,*

1Institute of Biomedical and Genetic Engineering (IBGE), KRL Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, 3Department of Radiation Oncology, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, 4Department of Radiation Oncology, Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital, 5Department of Biomedical Science and Environmental Biology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; 6Doctor Degree Program in Marine Biotechnology, National Sun Yat-sen University/Academia Sinica, 7Department of Medical Education and Research, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, 8Translational Research Center, 9Cancer Center, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, 10Institute of Medical Science and Technology, National Sun Yat-sen University, 11Research Center of Environmental Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Research concerning the epigenome over the years has systematically and sequentially shown substantial development and we have moved from global inhibition of modifications of the epigenome toward identification and targeted therapy against tumor-specific epigenetic mechanisms. In accordance with this approach, several drugs with epigenetically modulating activity have received considerable attention and appreciation, and recently emerging scientific evidence is uncovering details of their mode of action. High-throughput technologies have considerably improved our existing understanding of tumor suppressors, oncogenes, and signaling pathways that are key drivers of cancer. In this review, we summarize the general epigenetic mechanisms in cancer, including: the post-translational modification of DNA methyltransferase and its mediated inactivation of Ras association domain family 1 isoform A, Sonic hedgehog signaling, Wnt signaling, Notch signaling, transforming growth factor signaling, and natural products with epigenetic modification ability. Moreover, we introduce the importance of nanomedicine for delivery of natural products with modulating ability to epigenetic machinery in cancer cells. Such in-depth and comprehensive knowledge regarding epigenetic dysregulation will be helpful in the upcoming era of molecular genomic pathology for both detection and treatment of cancer. Epigenetic information will also be helpful when nanotherapy is used for epigenetic modification.

Keywords: epigenetic, modification, methylation, natural products, cancer

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