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Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2004;41(5-6):585-607.

Epigenetics and cancer.

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Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-7324, USA.


Both genetics and epigenetics regulate gene expression in cancer. Regulation by genetics involves a change in the DNA sequence, whereas epigenetic regulation involves alteration in chromatin structure and methylation of the promoter region. During the initiation, development, and progression of cancer, a number of genes undergo epigenetic changes. Some of these changes can be used as biomarkers for early detection of cancer as well as to follow treatment. A panel of epigenetic biomarkers is preferred to a single biomarker in clinical assays. Changes in gene expression due to epigenetic regulation can be reversed by chemicals, and this approach opens up a novel approach in cancer prevention and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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