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Chin J Cancer. 2011 Apr;30(4):231-9.

Epigenetic disruption of cell signaling in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Cancer Nanotechnology, Institute of Biomedical and Health Engineering, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences-CUHK, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055, P. R. China.


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignancy with remarkable ethnic and geographic distribution in southern China and Southeast Asia. Alternative to genetic changes, aberrant epigenetic events disrupt multiple genes involved in cell signaling pathways through DNA methylation of promoter CpG islands and/or histone modifications. These epigenetic alterations grant cell growth advantage and contribute to the initiation and progression of NPC. In this review, we summarize the epigenetic deregulation of cell signaling in NPC tumorigenesis and highlight the importance of identifying epigenetic cell signaling regulators in NPC research. Developing pharmacologic strategies to reverse the epigenetic-silencing of cell signaling regulators might thus be useful to NPC prevention and therapy.

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