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Breast cancer epigenetics: normal human mammary epithelial cells as a model system


DNA hypermethylation and histone modifications are two critical players involved in epigenetic regulation and together play an important role in silencing tumor-suppressor genes in all cancers, including breast cancer. One of the major challenges facing breast cancer researchers is the problem of how to identify critical genes that are epigenetically silenced early in cancer initiation as these genes provide potential early diagnostic and/or therapeutic targets for breast cancer management. This review will focus on compelling evidence that normal Human Mammary Epithelial Cells (HMECs) that escape senescence in culture mimic genetic and epigenetic events occurring in early breast cancer, and provide a valuable system to delineate the early steps in epigenetic deregulation that often occur during transition of a normal breast cell to a premalignant cell. In particular, this model system has been used to investigate the relationship between gene silencing, DNA methylation, histone modifications, and polycomb association that may occur early in oncogenic transformation.

Type Journal
ISBN 0946-2716 (Print)
Authors Hinshelwood, R.A.; Clark, S.J.
Publisher Name J MOL MED-JMM
Published Date 2008-08-21 00:00:00
Published Volume 86
Published Issue 12
Published Pages 1315-28
Status Published In-print
OpenAccess Link Hinshelwood .pdf