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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Oncol. | doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00794

Understanding cancer through the lens of epigenetic inheritance, allele-specific gene expression, and high-throughput technology

  • 1National Cancer Institute (NCI), United States

Epigenetic information is characterized by its stable transmission during mitotic cell divisions and plasticity during development and differentiation. This duality contrasts to genetic information, which is essentially static and identical in every cell in an organism except immunoglobulin gene rearrangements in lymphocytes and mutations in cancer cells. Allele-specific analysis of gene expression and epigenetic modifications provides a unique approach to studying epigenetic regulation in normal and cancer cells. Extension of Knudson’s two-hits theory to include epigenetic alteration as a means to inactivate tumor suppressor genes provides better understanding of how interplay between genetic mutations and epigenetic alterations contributes to cancer development. High-throughput technology has greatly accelerated cancer discovery. Large initiatives such as TCGA have shown that epigenetic components are frequent targets of mutations in cancer and these discoveries provide new insights into understanding cancer etiology and generate new opportunities for cancer therapeutics.

Keywords: epigenetics, Cancer, allele, inheritance, therapy

Received: 05 Jun 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Lee. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Maxwell P. Lee, National Cancer Institute (NCI), Rockville, United States, leemax@mail.nih.gov