Epigenetic aberrations are now well established in the development and progression of ovarian cancer, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNA dysregulation, and their progressive accumulation is correlated with the progression of the stage grade of disease. Epigenetic aberrations are relatively stable, linked to various subtypes of the disease, and present in circulating serum, representing promising diagnostic, prognostic, and pharmacodynamic biomarkers. Unlike DNA mutations and deletions, aberrant gene-repressive epigenetic changes, including DNA methylation inhibitors or histone-modifying enzymes, are theoretically reversible by epigenetic therapies. While no action against solid tumors, including ovarian cancer, has been shown in epigenetic monotherapies, preclinical studies indicate that they may be successful when used in conjunction with one another or with conventional chemotherapy, and combinatorial epigenetic therapy regiments are being investigated in cancer clinical trials. Improved interventions against this debilitating malignancy will provide a greater understanding of epigenetics’ role in ovarian cancer.
Part of the book: Ovarian Cancer