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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 170172, 12 pages
Review Article

Methylation-Mediated Molecular Dysregulation in Clinical Oral Malignancy

1Department of Integrative Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, 675 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1L3
2Division of Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, 910 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 4E3

Received 24 December 2011; Revised 18 February 2012; Accepted 19 February 2012

Academic Editor: Frederick E. Domann

Copyright © 2012 Rebecca Towle and Cathie Garnis. 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.


Herein we provide a concise review of the state of methylation research as it pertains to clinical oral cancerous and precancerous tissues. We provide context for ongoing research efforts in this field and describe technologies that are presently being applied to analyze clinical specimens. We also discuss the various recurrent methylation changes that have been reported for oral malignancy (including those genes frequently silenced by promoter methylation and the small RNAs with activity modulated by methylation changes) and describe surrogate disease markers identified via epigenetic analysis of saliva and blood specimens from patients with oral cancer.