Stress Responses as Master Keys to Epigenomic Changes in Transcriptome and Metabolome for Cancer Etiology and Therapeutics

Atanu Mondal, Apoorva Bhattacharya, Vipin Singh, Shruti Pandita, Albino Bacolla, Raj K. Pandita, John A. Tainer, Kenneth S. Ramos, Tej K. Pandita, Chandrima Das

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


From initiation through progression, cancer cells are subjected to a magnitude of endogenous and exogenous stresses, which aid in their neoplastic transformation. Exposure to these classes of stress induces imbalance in cellular homeostasis and, in response, cancer cells employ informative adaptive mechanisms to rebalance biochemical processes that facilitate survival and maintain their existence. Different kinds of stress stimuli trigger epigenetic alterations in cancer cells, which leads to changes in their transcriptome and metabolome, ultimately resulting in suppression of growth inhibition or induction of apoptosis. Whether cancer cells show a protective response to stress or succumb to cell death depends on the type of stress and duration of exposure. A thorough understanding of epigenetic and molecular architecture of cancer cell stress response pathways can unveil a plethora of information required to develop novel anticancer therapeutics. The present view highlights current knowledge about alterations in epigenome and transcriptome of cancer cells as a consequence of exposure to different physicochemical stressful stimuli such as reactive oxygen species (ROS), hypoxia, radiation, hyperthermia, genotoxic agents, and nutrient deprivation. Currently, an anticancer treatment scenario involving the imposition of stress to target cancer cells is gaining traction to augment or even replace conventional therapeutic regimens. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of stress response pathways is crucial for devising and implementing novel therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00483-21
Pages (from-to)e0048321
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2022


  • DNA damage
  • epigenetic response
  • hyperthermia
  • hypoxia
  • nutrient deprivation
  • oxidative stress
  • Oxidative Stress/physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
  • Hypoxia/metabolism
  • Neoplasms/etiology
  • Epigenomics/methods
  • Humans
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic/genetics
  • Transcriptome/physiology
  • Metabolome/physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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