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Future Oncol. 2009 Dec;5(10):1615-29. doi: 10.2217/fon.09.132.

Epigenetics of neurological cancers.

Author information

  • 1Brain Tumor Research Center, Department of Neurosurgery, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.

Abstract

Epigenetic mechanisms involving DNA methylation, histone modifications and noncoding RNAs regulate and maintain gene-expression states. Similar to genetic mutations, alterations in epigenetic regulation can lead to uncontrolled cell division, tumor initiation and growth, invasiveness and metastasis. Research in brain cancer, particularly gliomas, has uncovered global and gene-specific DNA hypomethylation, local DNA hypermethylation of gene promoters and the de-regulation of microRNA expression. Understanding epigenetic dysregulation in brain cancers has provided new tools for prognostication, as well as suggesting new approaches to therapy. There is significant interest in new sequencing-based technologies that map genetic and epigenetic alterations comprehensively and at high resolution. These methods are being applied to brain tumors, and will better define the contribution of epigenetic defects to tumorigenesis.

PMID:
20001799
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4018230
Free PMC Article

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