Author(s): Ross JP, Rand KN, Molloy PL, Ross JP, Rand KN, Molloy PL
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Abstract An important feature of cancer development and progression is the change in DNA methylation patterns, characterized by the hypermethylation of specific genes concurrently with an overall decrease in the level of 5-methylcytosine. Hypomethylation of the genome can affect both single-copy genes, repeat DNA sequences and transposable elements, and is highly variable among and within cancer types. Here, we review our current understanding of genome hypomethylation in cancer, with a particular focus on hypomethylation of the different classes and families of repeat sequences. The emerging data provide insights into the importance of methylation of different repeat families in the maintenance of chromosome structural integrity and the fidelity of normal transcriptional regulation. We also consider the events underlying cancer-associated hypomethylation and the potential for the clinical use of characteristic DNA methylation changes in diagnosis, prognosis or classification of tumors.
This article was published in Epigenomics
and referenced in Cancer Surgery