Cancer development is a complex process with multiple steps. Many factors, including radiation, chemicals, viruses, genetic and epigenetic changes, lead to abnormal proliferation of a single cell, which results in the outgrowth of a population of clonal-derived tumour cells. It has established that DNA hypermethylation, an epigenetic mechanism that occurred by the addition of a methyl group at 5′ position of the pyrimidine ring of cytosine residues at CpG islands through the action of DNA methyltransferase enzymes, has been considered as the cause of human tumorigenesis, including breast cancer development. Moreover, DNA hypermethylation holds a promising application as a potential biomarker for the early detection, prognosis and prediction of drug sensitivity in cancer. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the description and exemplification of the DNA hypermethylation changes, particularly, highlight the DNA hypermethylation as a potential biomarker applied in predictive, diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic monitoring of breast cancer.
Part of the book: Breast Cancer