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Epigenomics. 2011 Oct;3(5):581-609. doi: 10.2217/epi.11.73.

Epigenomics of leukemia: from mechanisms to therapeutic applications.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire de Cancer, Hôpital Kirchberg, 9, rue Edward Steichen, L-2540 Luxembourg, Luxembourg.


Leukemogenesis is a multistep process in which successive transformational events enhance the ability of a clonal population arising from hematopoietic progenitor cells to proliferate, differentiate and survive. Clinically and pathologically, leukemia is subdivided into four main categories: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia has been previously considered only as a genetic disease. However, in recent years, significant advances have been made in the elucidation of the leukemogenesis-associated processes. Thus, we have come to understand that epigenetic alterations including DNA methylation, histone modifications and miRNA are involved in the permanent changes of gene expression controlling the leukemia phenotype. In this article, we will focus on the epigenetic defects associated with leukemia and their implications as biomarkers for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic applications.

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