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Genetics Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 317569, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/317569
Review Article

DNA Methylation Pattern as Important Epigenetic Criterion in Cancer

Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Received 3 July 2013; Revised 13 September 2013; Accepted 2 November 2013

Academic Editor: Kenta Nakai

Copyright © 2013 Mehrdad Ghavifekr Fakhr 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.

Abstract

Epigenetic modifications can affect the long-term gene expression without any change in nucleotide sequence of the DNA. Epigenetic processes intervene in the cell differentiation, chromatin structure, and activity of genes since the embryonic period. However, disorders in genes’ epigenetic pattern can affect the mechanisms such as cell division, apoptosis, and response to the environmental stimuli which may lead to the incidence of different diseases and cancers. Since epigenetic changes may return to their natural state, they could be used as important targets in the treatment of cancer and similar malignancies. The aim of this review is to assess the epigenetic changes in normal and cancerous cells, the causative factors, and epigenetic therapies and treatments.