Implications of Epigenetics for Early Cancer Diagnosis and Prevention

  • Mukesh Verma
  • Sudhir Srivastava
Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)


Unlike genetic regulation, the epigenetic regulation of gene expression does not involve mutations, but involves promoter methylation and histone deacetylation. It is challenging to define how promoter hypermethylation participates in gene silencing and how the loss of methylation alters chromosome structure. Nevertheless, the findings of DNA methylation abnormalities in cancer have a potential clinical impact. One of the potential targets appears to lie in the use of CpG hypermethylation events as tumor biomarkers. The promoter changes provide a positive signal for cancer cells that can be detected by conventional techniques. Based on recent research, it seems reasonable to use multiple markers for predicting one tumor type. As almost every tumor type appears to have multiple independent promoter hypermethylation events, a panel of markers might be constructed to provide indices for monitoring cancer risk assessment and early cancer detection. Because epigenetic events are reversible, chemical agents can be used to intervene epigenetic events.

Key Words

Acetylation biomarkers chromatin early detection epigenetics epigenome methylation prevention risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mukesh Verma
    • 1
  • Sudhir Srivastava
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, Division of Cancer PreventionNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthRockville

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