Cancer epigenetics: The role of DNA methylation in tumor formation


Aberrant DNA methylation patterns are one of the earliest and most consistent hallmarks of human cancer cells. However, the factors that shape the tumor methylome remain poorly understood. We have used various epigenome profiling technologies to better understand the role of epigenetic modifiers that are associated with human cancer. For example, we have performed a detailed analysis of the epigenetic regulatory functions of Dnmt3a, a DNA methyltransferase that has been found to be mutated in several forms of cancer (Raddatz et al., 2012). More recently, we have also started to investigate the epigenetic changes that are induced by inflammatory processes, which represent a major risk factor in colon cancer formation (Abu-Remaileh et al., 2015). Our current research utilizes various sequencing-based approaches for DNA methylation and chromatin profiling to better understand the significance of cancer-specific epigenetic programs.

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