Epigenetic drugs for cancer therapy

Bowen Yan, Xuehui Li, Alta Johnson, Yurong Yang, Wei Jian, Yi Qiu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


In mammalian cells, DNA can be modified by methylation of cytosine residues in CpG dinucleotides, and the N-terminal tails of histone proteins are subject to a wide range of different modifications, including acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, and ubiquitylation. All of these chemical changes have a substantial influence on chromatin structure and gene expression. These epigenetic modification patterns can be regarded as heritable marks over many cell generations. Importantly, patterns and levels of DNA methylation and histone acetylation/deacetylation are profoundly altered in human cancers, which can result in altered gene expression of key regulator genes mainly involved in control of cell growth and proliferation, as well as DNA repair or maintenance of genome stability. Inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases and histone acetyltransferases/deacetylases have been shown to inhibit tumor growth by reactivating epigenetically silenced tumor suppressor genes and silencing oncogenes. Therefore, the use of epigenetic modulators such as anticancer compounds is a promising therapeutic strategy for cancer and other diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpigenetic Gene Expression and Regulation
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780128004715
ISBN (Print)9780127999586
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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