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Epigenomics. 2010 Apr 1;2(2):233-243.

Epigenetic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of hepatobiliary malignancies.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA, Tel.: +1 410 614 3530.


Primary tumors of the liver and biliary tree are increasing in frequency and portend a miserable prognosis. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression has emerged as a fundamental aspect of cancer development and progression. The molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma involve a complex interplay of both genetic and epigenetic factors. Recent studies investigating the possible epigenetic mechanisms induced in the disease have shed new light on the molecular underpinnings of hepatobiliary cancers. In addition, epigenetic modifications of DNA in cancer and precancerous lesions offer hope and the promise of novel biomarkers for early cancer detection, prediction, prognosis and response to treatment. Furthermore, the reversal of epigenetic changes represents a potential target for novel therapeutic strategies and medication design.

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