Epigenetic mechanism in breast cancer

Mukesh Verma, Sunil Badve

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease and markers are needed for diagnosis and prognosis of this often fatal disease. Genetic mutations and epigenetic alterations act in concert in carcinogenesis of a variety of tumors. Epigenetic alterations are being recognized as significant features in cancer development. Four major players in cancer epigenetic regulation are DNA methylation, histone modifications, noncoding RNA expression, and chromatin remodeling. Initial studies in cancer were conducted in the area of epigenetic regulation of individual genes but later on expanded systematically to larger parts of the chromosome. Hormonal induced nucleosome repositioning and its effects on transcription machinery in breast cancer development presents a better understanding on underlying mechanism. Epigenetic alterations can be used as biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and follow up of treatment. Epigenetic inhibitors have been identified which reactivate tumor suppressor genes and other genes, stop cell proliferation and tumor growth in breast cancer. Among epigenetic inhibitors, histone deacetylase inhibitors are novel clinical anticancer drugs that that inhibit HDAC gene expression and induce apoptosis. The focus of this article is to understand role of epigenetics in breast cancer development. Potential therapeutic approaches of breast cancer and correlation with precision medicine have also been discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMolecular Pathology of Breast Cancer
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319417615
ISBN (Print)9783319417592
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Biomarker
  • Breast cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Epigenetics
  • Etiology
  • Precision medicine
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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