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Epigenetic Regulation and Colorectal Cancer

Matsubara, Nagahide M.D., Ph.D.

Section Editor(s): Dunn, Kelli Bullard

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum: January 2012 - Volume 55 - Issue 1 - p 96–104
doi: 10.1097/DCR.0b013e318233a1ef
Current Status

Epigenetic silencing of genes is now recognized to be an important mechanism for inactivation of tumor suppressor genes in carcinogenesis. Because the role of genetic alterations in colorectal carcinogenesis has been well studied, colorectal cancer also offers an excellent model for elucidation of epigenetic mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis. DNA methylation and histone modification are involved in a complex network to maintain gene silencing and cause carcinogenesis. DNA methylation of cancer-related gene promoters generally begins early in the process of tumorigenesis, affecting various types of colorectal cancer to differing degrees. These advances in the understanding of the biology of tumorigenesis can be expected to provide distinct biomarkers that will aid future diagnosis, risk assessment, and treatment methods for patients with colorectal cancer.

Department of Surgery, Hyogo College of Medicine, Hyogo, Japan

Funding/Support: This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture (19390351 and 17390368).

Financial Disclosure: None reported.

Correspondence: Nagahide Matsubara, M.D., Ph.D., 1-1 Mukogawa-cho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan. E-mail:

© The ASCRS 2012