Gene expression is tightly regulated via a myriad of mechanisms in the cell to allow canonical processes to occur. However, in the context of cancer, some of these mechanisms are dysregulated, and aberrant gene expression ensues. Some of the dysregulated mechanisms include changes to transcription factor activity, epigenetic marks (such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and chromatin state), or the stability of mRNA and protein. Disruption of these regulators would result changes in transcriptional landscape, affecting multiple pathways and eventually lead to continual cell proliferation and the formation of the tumor. Here, we discuss epigenetic factors that affect gene expression which are dysregulated in cancer, and summarize the therapeutic options available to target these factors.
Part of the book: Gene Expression and Regulation in Mammalian Cells