Role of mtDNA-related mitoepigenetic phenomena in cancer

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Abnormal mitochondrial function has long been associated with the development and the progression of cancer. Multiple defects in the mitochondrial genome have been reported for various cancers, however the often disregarded mitochondrial epigenetic landscape provides an additional source of deregulation that may contribute to carcinogenesis.


This article reviews the current understanding of mitochondrial epigenetics and how it may relate to cancer progression and development. Relevant studies were found through electronic databases (Web of Science and PubMed).

Results and conclusions

The remarkably unexplored field of mitochondrial epigenetics has the potential to shed light on several cancer-related mitochondrial abnormalities. More studies using innovative, genome-wide sequencing technologies are highly warranted to assess whether and how altered mtDNA methylation patterns affect cancer initiation and progression.

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