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BUSM authors propose potential epigenetic mechanisms for improved cancer therapy
Date:2/19/2013

of the existence of both low and high rates of methylation could be explained with either the compartmentalization of these two processes and/or by the existence of both a methylation and demethylation system operating simultaneously at specific locations with the help of various accessory proteins.

The authors hypothesize the existence of both DNA methylating and demethylating enzymes in cells that regulate the methylation and demethylation process. Accessory proteins and/or small RNA factors could lead these enzymes to their sites of actions, resulting in some genes remaining methylated and others not methylated simultaneously within the same cellular environment. DNA sequences around the regions that are methylated and demethylated may also play role in these events. During drug treatments, the demethylating system dominates while the methylating enzyme is down-regulated, resulting in re-expression of silenced genes.

Recent studies have shown that epigenetic drug treatments prior to and with standard chemotherapy reduce the chance of cancer relapse.

"Progenitors are known to cause cancer relapse, and because epigenetic drugs can help destroy progenitor cells, these drugs could help reduce the chance of cancer relapse and improve the long-term outcomes of people with cancer," said Sarkar. "While our hypotheses are based on current knowledge, we are proposing important and exciting areas to be explored in the future."


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Contact: Jenny Eriksen Leary
jenny.eriksen@bmc.org
617-638-6841
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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