Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is mediated through alterations in the DNA methylation status, covalent modifications of core nucleosomal histones, rearrangement of histones, and by RNA interference. It is now abundantly clear that deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms cooperates with genetic alterations in the development and progression of cancer and leukemia. Epigenetic deregulation affects several aspects of tumor cell biology, including cell growth, cell cycle control, differentiation, DNA repair, and cell death. This raises the strong possibility that reversing deregulated epigenetic mechanisms may be an effective treatment strategy for leukemia and cancer. This treatment strategy may either be designed to separately or collectively target the specific perturbations in the epigenetic mechanisms found in human hematologic malignancies. The following review describes our current understanding of the important deregulated epigenetic mechanisms and the preclinical and clinical development of epigenetic and chromatin modifiers in the therapy of these disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research