Epigenetic alterations in cancer and personalized cancer treatment

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Abstract

Based on the pivotal importance of epigenetics for transcription regulation, it is not surprising that cancer is characterized by several epigenetic abnormalities. Conversely to genetic alterations, epigenetic changes are not permanent, thus represent opportunities for therapeutic strategies designed to reverse transcriptional abnormalities, and cancer is the first disease in which epigenetic therapies with chromatin remodeling agents were introduced. The role of miRNAs in gene regulation supports their potential as innovative therapeutic strategy. Recent evidences have proven that the environment can profoundly influence the epigenome: diet, smoking and alcohol consumption can negatively impact the expression profile. Given the plasticity of epigenetic marks, it is challenging the idea that the epigenetic alterations are ‘druggable’ sites using specific food components.

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