Special Issue "Epigenetics of Cancer Progression"

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A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2010)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jörg Haier

Comprehensive Cancer Center Muenster, International Patient Management, University Hospital Muenster, Waldeyerstr. 1, 48149 Muenster, Germany
E-Mail
Fax: +49 251 83 57631
Interests: gastraintestinal cancer; metastasis; cell adhesion; cell migration; chemotaxis
Guest Editor
Dr. Soeren Torge Mees

Dept. of General and Visceral Surgery, University Hospital of Muenster, Waldeyerstr.1, 48149 Muenster, Germany
E-Mail
Fax: +49 251 83 58424
Interests: pancreatic cancer; epigenetics; microRNAs; methylation; metastasis; animal models; hepato-pancreatico-biliary surgery

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Epigenetic alterations seem to play an important role during the development and progression of several types of cancers. Of current interest are all epigenetic mechanisms, such as shifts in DNA methylation patterns or alterations in microRNA expression, that contribute to the the progression of cancer.

Prof. Dr. Jörg Haier
Dr. Soeren Torge Mees
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • epigenetics
  • microRNAs
  • methylation
  • metastasis
  • tumor suppressor genes
  • oncogenes
  • animal models

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Common Altered Epigenomic Domains in Cancer Cells: Characterization and Subtle Variations
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1996-2013; doi:10.3390/cancers3021996
Received: 9 February 2011 / Revised: 22 March 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
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Abstract
We have previously identified large megabase-sized hypomethylated zones in the genome of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 using the TspRI-ExoIII technique. In this report, we used a more convenient high throughput method for mapping the hypomethylated zones in a number of human
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We have previously identified large megabase-sized hypomethylated zones in the genome of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 using the TspRI-ExoIII technique. In this report, we used a more convenient high throughput method for mapping the hypomethylated zones in a number of human tumor genomes simultaneously. The method was validated by the bisulfite sequencing of 39 randomly chosen sites in a demethylated domain and by bisulfite genome-wide sequencing of the MCF-7 genome. This showed that the genomes of the various tumor cell lines, as well as some primary tumors, exhibit common hypomethylated domains. Interestingly, these hypomethylated domains are correlated with low CpG density distribution genome-wide, together with the histone H3K27Me3 landscape. Furthermore, they are inversely correlated with the H3K9Ac landscape and gene expression as measured in MCF-7 cells. Treatment with drugs resulted in en-bloc changes to the methylation domains. A close examination of the methylation domains found differences between non-invasive and invasive tumors with respect to tumorigenesis related genes. Taken together these results suggest that the human genome is organized in epigenomic domains that contain various different types of genes and imply that there are cis- and trans-regulators that control these domain-wide epigenetic changes and hence gene expression in the human genome. The hypomethylated domains are located in gene deserts that contain mainly tissue-specific genes and therefore we hypothesize that tumor cells keep these regions demethylated and silenced in order to save energy and resources and allow higher levels of cell proliferation and better survival (a thrifty tumor genome hypothesis). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle Delineating an Epigenetic Continuum for Initiation, Transformation and Progression to Breast Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1580-1592; doi:10.3390/cancers3021580
Received: 13 January 2011 / Revised: 10 March 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aberrant methylation of promoter CpG islands is a hallmark of human cancers and is an early event in carcinogenesis. We examined whether promoter hypermethylation contributes to the pathogenesis of benign breast lesions along a progression continuum to invasive breast cancer. The exploratory study
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Aberrant methylation of promoter CpG islands is a hallmark of human cancers and is an early event in carcinogenesis. We examined whether promoter hypermethylation contributes to the pathogenesis of benign breast lesions along a progression continuum to invasive breast cancer. The exploratory study cohort comprised 17 breast cancer patients with multiple benign and/or in situ lesions concurrently present with invasive carcinoma within a tumor biopsy. DNA from tumor tissue, normal breast epithelium when present, benign lesions (fibroadenoma, hyperplasia, papilloma, sclerosing adenosis, apocrine metaplasia, atypical lobular hyperplasia or atypical ductal hyperplasia), and in situ lesions of lobular carcinoma and ductal carcinoma were interrogated for promoter methylation status in 22 tumor suppressor genes using the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay (MS-MLPA). Methylation specific PCR was performed to confirm hypermethylation detected by MS-MLPA. Promoter methylation was detected in 11/22 tumor suppressor genes in 16/17 cases. Hypermethylation of RASSF1 was most frequent, present in 14/17 cases, followed by APC in 12/17, and GSTP1 in 9/17 cases with establishment of an epigenetic monocloncal progression continuum to invasive breast cancer. Hypermethylated promoter regions in normal breast epithelium, benign, and premalignant lesions within the same tumor biopsy implicate RASSF1, APC, GSTP1, TIMP3, CDKN2B, CDKN2A, ESR1, CDH13, RARB, CASP8, and TP73 as early events. DNA hypermethylation underlies the pathogenesis of step-wise transformation along a monoclonal continuum from normal to preneoplasia to invasive breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle Role of Gene Methylation in Antitumor Immune Response: Implication for Tumor Progression
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1672-1690; doi:10.3390/cancers3021672
Received: 22 December 2010 / Revised: 9 March 2011 / Accepted: 24 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer immunosurveillance theory has emphasized the role of escape mechanisms in tumor growth. In this respect, a very important factor is the molecular characterization of the mechanisms by which tumor cells evade immune recognition and destruction. Among the many escape mechanisms identified, alterations
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Cancer immunosurveillance theory has emphasized the role of escape mechanisms in tumor growth. In this respect, a very important factor is the molecular characterization of the mechanisms by which tumor cells evade immune recognition and destruction. Among the many escape mechanisms identified, alterations in classical and non-classical HLA (Human Leucocyte Antigens) class I and class II expression by tumor cells are of particular interest. In addition to the importance of HLA molecules, tumor-associated antigens and accessory/co-stimulatory molecules are also involved in immune recognition. The loss of HLA class I antigen expression and of co-stimulatory molecules can occur at genetic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Epigenetic defects are involved in at least some mechanisms that preclude mounting a successful host-antitumor response involving the HLA system, tumor-associated antigens, and accessory/co-stimulatory molecules. This review summarizes our current understanding of the role of methylation in the regulation of molecules involved in the tumor immune response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
Open AccessArticle Epigenetics of Estrogen Receptor Signaling: Role in Hormonal Cancer Progression and Therapy
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1691-1707; doi:10.3390/cancers3021691
Received: 4 January 2011 / Revised: 11 March 2011 / Accepted: 25 March 2011 / Published: 29 March 2011
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Estrogen receptor (ERa) signaling plays a key role in hormonal cancer progression. ERa is a ligand-dependent transcription factor that modulates gene transcription via recruitment to the target gene chromatin. Emerging evidence suggests that ERa signaling has the potential to contribute to epigenetic changes.
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Estrogen receptor (ERa) signaling plays a key role in hormonal cancer progression. ERa is a ligand-dependent transcription factor that modulates gene transcription via recruitment to the target gene chromatin. Emerging evidence suggests that ERa signaling has the potential to contribute to epigenetic changes. Estrogen stimulation is shown to induce several histone modifications at the ERα target gene promoters including acetylation, phosphorylation and methylation via dynamic interactions with histone modifying enzymes. Deregulation of enzymes involved in the ERa-mediated epigenetic pathway could play a vital role in ERa driven neoplastic processes. Unlike genetic alterations, epigenetic changes are reversible, and hence offer novel therapeutic opportunities to reverse ERa driven epigenetic changes.  In this review, we summarize current knowledge on mechanisms by which ERa signaling potentiates epigenetic changes in cancer cells via histone modifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle Epigenetic Regulation of Glucose Transporters in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1550-1565; doi:10.3390/cancers3021550
Received: 25 January 2011 / Revised: 9 February 2011 / Accepted: 9 February 2011 / Published: 25 March 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Due to their inherently hypoxic environment, cancer cells often resort to glycolysis, or the anaerobic breakdown of glucose to form ATP to provide for their energy needs, known as the Warburg effect. At the same time, overexpression of the insulin receptor in non-small
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Due to their inherently hypoxic environment, cancer cells often resort to glycolysis, or the anaerobic breakdown of glucose to form ATP to provide for their energy needs, known as the Warburg effect. At the same time, overexpression of the insulin receptor in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with an increased risk of metastasis and decreased survival. The uptake of glucose into cells is carried out via glucose transporters or GLUTs. Of these, GLUT-4 is essential for insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Following treatment with the epigenetic targeting agents histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), GLUT-3 and GLUT-4 expression were found to be induced in NSCLC cell lines, with minimal responses in transformed normal human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs). Similar results for GLUT-4 were observed in cells derived from liver, muscle, kidney and pre-adipocytes. Bioinformatic analysis of the promoter for GLUT-4 indicates that it may also be regulated by several chromatin binding factors or complexes including CTCF, SP1 and SMYD3. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies demonstrate that the promoter for GLUT-4 is dynamically remodeled in response to HDACi. Overall, these results may have value within the clinical setting as (a) it may be possible to use this to enhance fluorodeoxyglucose (18F) positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging sensitivity; (b) it may be possible to target NSCLC through the use of HDACi and insulin mediated uptake of the metabolic targeting drugs such as 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG); or (c) enhance or sensitize NSCLC to chemotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessArticle DLEC1 Expression Is Modulated by Epigenetic Modifications in Hepatocelluar Carcinoma Cells: Role of HBx Genotypes
Cancers 2010, 2(3), 1689-1704; doi:10.3390/cancers2031689
Received: 29 July 2010 / Revised: 23 August 2010 / Accepted: 8 September 2010 / Published: 16 September 2010
PDF Full-text (360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deleted in Lung and Esophageal Cancer 1 (DLEC1) is a functional tumor suppressor gene (TSG). It has been found to be silenced in a variety of human cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The silencing of DLEC1 can be modulated by epigenetic modifications, such
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Deleted in Lung and Esophageal Cancer 1 (DLEC1) is a functional tumor suppressor gene (TSG). It has been found to be silenced in a variety of human cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The silencing of DLEC1 can be modulated by epigenetic modifications, such as DNA hypermethylation and histone hypoacetylation. In the case of HCC, hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) has been implicated in methylation of target promoters resulting in the down-regulation of tumor suppressor genes, which in turn contributes to the development of HCC. In the present study, we first established a cell system in which epigenetic modifications can be modulated using inhibitors of either DNA methylation or histone deacetylation. The cell system was used to reveal that the expression of DLEC1 was upregulated by HBx in a genotype-dependent manner. In particular, HBx genotype A was found to decrease DNA methylation of the DLEC1 promoter. Our results have provided new insights on the impact of HBx in HCC development by epigenetic modifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)

Review

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Open AccessReview Epigenetic Regulation by Lysine Demethylase 5 (KDM5) Enzymes in Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1383-1404; doi:10.3390/cancers3011383
Received: 30 January 2011 / Revised: 7 March 2011 / Accepted: 8 March 2011 / Published: 16 March 2011
Cited by 53 | PDF Full-text (563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Similar to genetic alterations, epigenetic aberrations contribute significantly to tumor initiation and progression. In many cases, these changes are caused by activation or inactivation of the regulators that maintain epigenetic states. Here we review our current knowledge on the KDM5/JARID1 family of histone
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Similar to genetic alterations, epigenetic aberrations contribute significantly to tumor initiation and progression. In many cases, these changes are caused by activation or inactivation of the regulators that maintain epigenetic states. Here we review our current knowledge on the KDM5/JARID1 family of histone demethylases. This family of enzymes contains a JmjC domain and is capable of removing tri- and di- methyl marks from lysine 4 on histone H3. Among these proteins, RBP2 mediates drug resistance while JARID1B is required for melanoma maintenance. Preclinical studies suggest inhibition of these enzymes can suppress tumorigenesis and provide strong rationale for development of their inhibitors for use in cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessReview Epigenetic Alteration by DNA Promoter Hypermethylation of Genes Related to Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGF-β) Signaling in Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 982-993; doi:10.3390/cancers3010982
Received: 15 December 2010 / Revised: 22 February 2011 / Accepted: 24 February 2011 / Published: 3 March 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epigenetic alterations in cancer, especially DNA methylation and histone modification, exert a significant effect on the deregulated expression of cancer-related genes and lay an epigenetic pathway to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Global hypomethylation and local hypermethylation of CpG islands in the promoter region,
[...] Read more.
Epigenetic alterations in cancer, especially DNA methylation and histone modification, exert a significant effect on the deregulated expression of cancer-related genes and lay an epigenetic pathway to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Global hypomethylation and local hypermethylation of CpG islands in the promoter region, which result in silencing tumor suppressor genes, constitute general and major epigenetic modification, the hallmark of the neoplastic epigenome. Additionally, methylation-induced gene silencing commonly affects a number of genes and increases with cancer progression. Indeed, cancers with a high degree of methylation (CpG island methylator phenotype/CIMP) do exist and represent a distinct subset of certain cancers including colorectal, bladder and kidney. On the other hand, signals from the microenvironment, especially those from transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), induce targeted de novo epigenetic alterations of cancer-related genes. While TGF-β signaling has been implicated in two opposite roles in cancer, namely tumor suppression and tumor promotion, its deregulation is also partly induced by epigenetic alteration itself. Although the epigenetic pathway to carcinogenesis and cancer progression has such reciprocal complexity, the important issue is to identify genes or signaling pathways that are commonly silenced in various cancers in order to find early diagnostic and therapeutic targets. In this review, we focus on the epigenetic alteration by DNA methylation and its role in molecular modulations of the TGF-β signaling pathway that cause or underlie altered cancer-related gene expression in both phases of early carcinogenesis and late cancer progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
Open AccessReview Cumulative Epigenetic Abnormalities in Host Genes with Viral and Microbial Infection during Initiation and Progression of Malignant Lymphoma/Leukemia
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 568-581; doi:10.3390/cancers3010568
Received: 31 December 2010 / Revised: 25 January 2011 / Accepted: 25 January 2011 / Published: 4 February 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (336 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although cancers have been thought to be predominantly driven by acquired genetic changes, it is becoming clear that microenvironment-mediated epigenetic alterations play important roles. Aberrant promoter hypermethylation is a prevalent phenomenon in human cancers as well as malignant lymphoma/leukemia. Tumor suppressor genes become
[...] Read more.
Although cancers have been thought to be predominantly driven by acquired genetic changes, it is becoming clear that microenvironment-mediated epigenetic alterations play important roles. Aberrant promoter hypermethylation is a prevalent phenomenon in human cancers as well as malignant lymphoma/leukemia. Tumor suppressor genes become frequent targets of aberrant hypermethylation in the course of gene-silencing due to the increased and deregulated DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). The purpose of this article is to review the current status of knowledge about the contribution of cumulative epigenetic abnormalities of the host genes after microbial and virus infection to the crisis and progression of malignant lymphoma/leukemia. In addition, the relevance of this knowledge to malignant lymphoma/leukemia assessment, prevention and early detection will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)
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Open AccessReview Epigenetic Therapy in Human Choriocarcinoma
Cancers 2010, 2(3), 1683-1688; doi:10.3390/cancers2031683
Received: 18 August 2010 / Revised: 3 September 2010 / Accepted: 9 September 2010 / Published: 10 September 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (114 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Because epigenetic alterations are believed to be involved in the repression of tumor suppressor genes and promotion of tumorigenesis in choriocarcinomas, novel compounds endowed with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitory activity are an attractive therapeutic approach. HDAC inhibitors (HDACIs) were able to mediate
[...] Read more.
Because epigenetic alterations are believed to be involved in the repression of tumor suppressor genes and promotion of tumorigenesis in choriocarcinomas, novel compounds endowed with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitory activity are an attractive therapeutic approach. HDAC inhibitors (HDACIs) were able to mediate inhibition of cell growth, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and the expression of genes related to the malignant phenotype in choriocarcinoma cell lines. In this review, we discuss the biologic and therapeutic effects of HDACIs in treating choriocarcinoma, with a special focus on preclinical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of Cancer Progression)

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