Cancer Genetics & Epigenetics

Cancer is fundamentally a disease of tissue growth regulation. Oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes are the two primary types of impacted genes. Oncogenes are genes that promote cell growth and replication. Tumor suppressor genes are those that prevent cell division and survival. Malignant transformation can occur as a result of the emergence of novel Oncogenes, the inappropriate over-expression of known Oncogenes, or the under-expression or inactivation of Tumour Suppressor Genes.

Cancer Epigenetics is the study of epigenetic modifications to the genome of cancer cells that do not involve any changes to the nucleotide sequence. Epigenetic changes are as important as genetic mutations in the transformation of normal cells to cancer cells, and their management holds remarkable promise for cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. In many kinds of cancer, a variety of epigenetic mechanisms can be perturbed, such as silencing of Tumour Suppressor Genes and activation of Oncogenes by altered histone modifications, CpG island methylation patterns, and dysregulation of DNA binding proteins.

Effects of epigenetics:

  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Psychological stress and
  • Working on night shifts

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