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Cancer Treat Rev. 2011;37 Suppl 1:S8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2011.04.010. Epub 2011 May 20.

Transcriptional regulation by DNA methylation.

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  • 1German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ, Division C010, Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Epigenetic mechanisms synergize with genetic alterations in modulating gene expression patterns in cancer cells. While epigenetic alterations are reversible genetic modifications are not. This has raised the attention of many groups to focus on a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the establishment of altered DNA methylation, histone modifications patterns and miRNA expression. The improved understanding of these mechanisms we will in turn allow us to improve the strategies that can be used for epigenetic therapies. In this review we will discuss and summarize briefly our current knowledge of epigenetic alterations in leukemias and will turn our attention to a concrete example of epigenetic deregulation of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPα), a key regulator for granulocytic differentiation of common myeloid progenitor cells in order to highlight the cooperativity of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms acting on this gene during the process of leukemogenesis.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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