Cancer: An Epigenetic Landscape
Cancer is not a single disease, rather a group of abnormality generally associated with uncontrolled cell growth. The characteristic of a cancer is determined by its tissue of origin. In humans during the development of cancer the tumor tissue acquires several physiological abilities, termed as “Hallmarks of cancer”, through which cancer cells overcome the check point of cell cycle, avoid the immune surveillance system, disobey the growth regulatory signals and induce the assembly of new blood vessels in the tumor. Later these cells become metabolically hyperactive to harness the energy required for maintaining the various cancer hallmarks. However, apart from these cellular characteristics, physiologically cancer growth and progression is significantly dependant on the “tumor microenvironment”. All cancers are genetic but a very few are hereditary. Somatic mutations are considered to be the point of initiation. Nevertheless, the fine tuning of cancer progression, more precisely the establishment of a complex network among the genes expressed in a cancer cell is mediated by the epigenetic reprogramming, which could be affected by the tumor microenvironment (Fig. 17.1). In this chapter we shall discuss about the present understanding of the possible contribution of chromatin modifications and remodelling in cancer manifestation.
KeywordsChronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cancer Stem Cell Histone Modification Histone Variant Diallyl Disulfide
Work done in our laboratory is supported by Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India; Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. TKK is a recipient of Sir JC Bose fellowship (DST). DK and MA are senior research fellows of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India.
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