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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 587983, 13 pages
Review Article

Environmental Epigenetics: Crossroad between Public Health, Lifestyle, and Cancer Prevention

Laboratory of Tumor Epigenetics, IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Largo Rosanna Benzi 10, 16132 Genova, Italy

Received 14 January 2015; Accepted 1 April 2015

Academic Editor: Jia Cao

Copyright © 2015 Massimo Romani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epigenetics provides the key to transform the genetic information into phenotype and because of its reversibility it is considered an ideal target for therapeutic interventions. This paper reviews the basic mechanisms of epigenetic control: DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin remodeling, and ncRNA expression and their role in disease development. We describe also the influence of the environment, lifestyle, nutritional habits, and the psychological influence on epigenetic marks and how these factors are related to cancer and other diseases development. Finally we discuss the potential use of natural epigenetic modifiers in the chemoprevention of cancer to link together public health, environment, and lifestyle.