Epigenetic changes in cancer

Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Cancer is as much an epigenetic disease as it is a genetic disease, and epigenetic alterations in cancer often serve as potent surrogates for genetic mutations. Normal epigenetic modifications of DNA encompass three types of changes: chromatin modifications, DNA methylation, and genomic imprinting, each of which is altered in cancer cells. This review addresses the various epigenetic modifications that are pervasive among human tumors and traces the history of cancer epigenetics from the first observations of altered global methylation content to the recently proposed epigenetic progenitor model, which provides a common unifying mechanism for cancer development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-249
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009


  • Chromatin
  • Genetics
  • Histone modification
  • Imprinting
  • Methylation
  • Progenitor cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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