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Int J Mol Sci. 2011 Jan 31;12(2):983-1008. doi: 10.3390/ijms12020983.

Epigenetic regulation of cancer-associated genes in ovarian cancer.

Author information

1
Advanced Institutes of Convergence Technology, Suwon, Kyeonggi-do 443-270, Korea; E-Mail: mjkwon94@snu.ac.kr.

Abstract

The involvement of epigenetic aberrations in the development and progression of tumors is now well established. However, most studies have focused on the epigenetic inactivation of tumor suppressor genes during tumorigenesis and little is known about the epigenetic activation of cancer-associated genes, except for the DNA hypomethylation of some genes. Recently, we reported that the overexpression of cancer-promoting genes in ovarian cancer is associated with the loss of repressive histone modifications. This discovery suggested that epigenetic derepression may contribute to ovarian tumorigenesis by constituting a possible mechanism for the overexpression of oncogenes or cancer-promoting genes in tumors. The emerging importance of epigenetic aberrations in tumor initiation and in the regulation of cancer-initiating cells, suggests that epigenetically regulated genes may be promising therapeutic targets and biomarkers. Given that the current challenges in ovarian cancer include the identification of biomarkers for early cancer detection and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for patients with recurrent malignancies undergoing chemotherapy, understanding the epigenetic changes that occur in ovarian cancer is crucial. This review looks at epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of cancer-associated genes, including the contribution of epigenetic derepression to the activation of cancer-associated genes in ovarian cancer. In addition, possible epigenetic therapies targeting epigenetically dysregulated genes are discussed. A better understanding of the epigenetic changes in ovarian cancer will contribute to the improvement of patient outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

DNA methylation; cancer-initiating cells; chemoresistance; epigenetic derepression; epigenetic therapy; histone modification; miRNA; ovarian cancer

PMID:
21541038
PMCID:
PMC3083685
DOI:
10.3390/ijms12020983
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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