Histone Modifications: The Double Edged Sword in Gynaecological Cancers
Gynaecological cancers are one among the fatal cancers that affects women worldwide. It includes endometrial, ovarian, cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Epigenetic aberrations play a crucial role in the development and progression of such cancers, which includes global genomic hypomethylation, Cytosine-Guanine (CpG) island promoter hypermethylation, changes in histone modifications and changes in chromatin-modifying enzymes. This review aims at elaborating the significance of epigenetic changes specifically the histone modifications, at H3K9, H3K27, H3K4 and others involved in gynaecological tumourigenesis. They can independently or synergistically act along with DNA methylation for repression of the tumour suppressor genes and possibly for the activation of various oncogenes like CLDN3, CLDN4, GATA4, etc. in gynaecological cancers. These modifications may pave the way in the future for the identification of biomarkers in early diagnosis and prognosis with an opportunity for targeted drug delivery. A systematic review was done using Internet based scientific databases. Relevant clues about the role of Histone modifications like acetylation, deacetylation, mono/di/trimethylation, demethylation of the histone tails (H3/H4) involved in tumour development and progression were reviewed.
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