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Mol Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;83(3):563-76. doi: 10.1124/mol.112.080697. Epub 2012 Nov 13.

Writing and rewriting the epigenetic code of cancer cells: from engineered proteins to small molecules.

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School of Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Biology, M309, the University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, 6009, WA, Australia.


The epigenomic era has revealed a well-connected network of molecular processes that shape the chromatin landscape. These processes comprise abnormal methylomes, transcriptosomes, genome-wide histone post-transcriptional modifications patterns, histone variants, and noncoding RNAs. The mapping of these processes in large scale by chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and other methodologies in both cancer and normal cells reveals novel therapeutic opportunities for anticancer intervention. The goal of this minireview is to summarize pharmacological strategies to modify the epigenetic landscape of cancer cells. These approaches include the use of novel small molecule inhibitors of epigenetic processes specifically deregulated in cancer cells and the design of engineered proteins able to stably reprogram the epigenetic code in cancer cells in a way that is similar to normal cells.

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