CpG island hypermethylation
CpG island hypermethylation is an epigenetic control aberration that is important for gene inactivation in cancer cells. Hypermethylation of CpG islands has been described in almost every type of tumor. Many important cellular pathways, such as DNA repair, cell cycle (p14ARF), apoptosis (DAPK), cell adherence, are inactivated by this epigenetic lesion. Hypermethylation is linked to methyl-binding proteins, DNA methyltransferases and histone deacetylase, but the degree to which this process selectively silences tumor suppressor genes remains a vibrant field of study. The list for hypermethylated genes is growing and functional and genetic studies are being performed to determine which hypermethylation events are relevant for tumorigenesis. Basic as well as translational research will be needed to understand the mechanisms and roles of CpG island hypermethylation in cancer.
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