Epigenetic inactivation of DNA repair in breast cancer

Somaira Nowsheen, Khaled Aziz, Phuoc T. Tran, Vassilis G. Gorgoulis, Eddy S. Yang, Alexandros G. Georgakilas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The study of epigenetic mechanisms in cancer, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, has revealed a plethora of events that contribute to cancer through stable changes in the expression of genes critical to transformation pathways. In this mini review we look at the different epigenetic modifications prevalent in this neoplastic phenotype, focusing on breast cancer. Most encouragingly, research in epigenetics has led to improved survival of patients with certain forms of lymphoma and leukemia through the use of drugs that alter DNA methylation and histone acetylation. Thus, we look at the clinical utility of targeting epigenetic pathways. In addition, we explore numerous other clinical applications of epigenetics, in areas such as cancer screening and early detection, prevention, classification for epidemiology and prognostic purposes, and predicting outcomes after standard therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 28 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We apologize to those investigators whose meritorious work could not be cited due to space limitations. This work was supported by funds provided by the Biology Department, East Carolina University (to A.G.G.), IMPACT Award from the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Alabama-Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, and University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine (to E.S.Y.).


  • Biomarkers
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer
  • Carcinogenesis
  • DNA damage
  • Epigenetics
  • Personalized treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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