Interplay Between Inflammation and Epigenetic Changes in Cancer

A. R. Maiuri, H. M. O'Hagan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Immune responses can suppress tumorigenesis, but also contribute to cancer initiation and progression suggesting a complex interaction between the immune system and cancer. Epigenetic alterations, which are heritable changes in gene expression without changes to the DNA sequence, also play a role in carcinogenesis through silencing expression of tumor suppressor genes and activating oncogenic signaling. Interestingly, epithelial cells at sites of chronic inflammation undergo DNA methylation alterations that are similar to those present in cancer cells, suggesting that inflammation may initiate cancer-specific epigenetic changes in epithelial cells. Furthermore, epigenetic changes occur during immune cell differentiation and participate in regulating the immune response, including the regulation of inflammatory cytokines. Cancer cells utilize epigenetic silencing of immune-related genes to evade the immune response. This chapter will detail the interactions between inflammation and epigenetics in tumor initiation, promotion, and immune evasion and how these connections are being leveraged in cancer prevention and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMolecular and Cellular Changes in the Cancer Cell, 2016
EditorsKevin Pruitt
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages49
ISBN (Print)9780128093283
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Publication series

NameProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
ISSN (Print)1877-1173
ISSN (Electronic)1878-0814


  • Cancer initiation
  • Chromatin
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Immune cells
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology

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  • Cite this

    Maiuri, A. R., & O'Hagan, H. M. (2016). Interplay Between Inflammation and Epigenetic Changes in Cancer. In K. Pruitt (Ed.), Molecular and Cellular Changes in the Cancer Cell, 2016 (pp. 69-117). (Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science; Vol. 144). Elsevier B.V..