Journal of Molecular Oncology Research

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.
Reach Us +1 (202) 780-3397

Rapid Communication - Journal of Molecular Oncology Research (2023) Volume 7, Issue 6

Epigenetics and cancer: understanding the hidden factors influencing tumor development

Yichen Meng *

Department of Digestive Surgery, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China.

*Corresponding Author:
Yichen Meng
Department of Digestive Surgery, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China

Received: 25-Oct-2023, Manuscript No. AAMOR-23-119342; Editor assigned: 26-Oct-2023, PreQC No. AAMOR-23-119342; Reviewed:10-Nov-2023, QC No. AAMOR-23-119342; Revised:16-Nov-2023, Manuscript No. AAMOR-23-119342 (R); Published:24-Nov-2023, DOI:10.35841/ aamor -7.6.207

Citation: Meng Y. Epigenetics and cancer: understanding the hidden factors influencing tumor development. J Mol Oncol Res. 2023; 7(6):207

Visit for more related articles at Journal of Molecular Oncology Research


Cancer has long been one of the most formidable challenges in the field of medicine, affecting millions of lives worldwide. While significant progress has been made in understanding the genetic basis of cancer, a growing body of research has begun to shed light on the role of epigenetics in tumor development. Epigenetics refers to the heritable changes in gene expression that occur without alterations in the underlying DNA sequence. These modifications play a pivotal role in regulating gene activity and can greatly influence the onset and progression of cancer. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of epigenetics and its implications in the context of cancer, exploring how these hidden factors can impact tumor development and potentially lead to breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment [1, 2].

Before we dive into the intricate relationship between epigenetics and cancer, it's crucial to grasp the basics of epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic modifications include DNA methylation, histone modifications, and the actions of non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs. These changes serve as the cellular control panel, orchestrating gene expression, and are involved in various physiological processes, from embryonic development to tissue-specific functions. Understanding these mechanisms is vital to comprehend how they can go awry in cancer. One of the key insights into the role of epigenetics in cancer is the discovery of epigenetic alterations in crucial genes. Tumor suppressor genes, which normally prevent uncontrolled cell growth, can be silenced through DNA hypermethylation or repressive histone modifications. Conversely, oncogenes, which promote cell proliferation, can be activated by epigenetic changes [3, 4]

These alterations often create a permissive environment for the development and progression of cancer. The detailed examination of specific examples, such as the epigenetic silencing of the tumor suppressor gene p53 or the activation of the oncogene RAS, will shed light on the significance of these hidden factors. Epigenetic modifications are dynamic and reversible, making them intriguing targets for cancer research and therapy. Understanding the interplay of epigenetic alterations during cancer development is crucial. For instance, in the early stages of cancer, changes in DNA methylation patterns can lead to the silencing of genes that maintain genomic stability, allowing for the accumulation of genetic mutations. As the tumor progresses, further epigenetic changes can enhance invasive properties, leading to metastasis [5, 6 ].

Furthermore, cancer cells often exhibit global alterations in DNA methylation, which can serve as diagnostic and prognostic markers. Exploring these intricate processes provides a deeper understanding of how epigenetics shapes the cancer landscape. The recognition of epigenetic abnormalities in cancer has spurred the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Epigenetic therapies aim to correct or reverse the aberrant epigenetic marks within cancer cells. DNA methyltransferase inhibitors and histone deacetylase inhibitors are among the pharmaceutical agents that have shown promise in clinical trials. These treatments can reactivate silenced tumor suppressor genes, halt cell proliferation, and induce apoptosis in cancer cells. While the field of epigenetic therapy is still in its infancy, it holds great potential for improving cancer outcomes and offering more targeted and less toxic treatment options [7, 8].

While the connection between epigenetics and cancer is a burgeoning field with remarkable potential, it also presents challenges. One of the main hurdles is the complexity and diversity of epigenetic alterations within different cancer types and even among individual patients. Additionally, the long-term effects and potential side effects of epigenetic therapies need further investigation. Ethical considerations, such as the use of these therapies in germline cells, also warrant careful examination [9, 10].


In conclusion, the study of epigenetics has uncovered the hidden factors that influence tumor development in cancer. Epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs, play a pivotal role in regulating gene expression and can be both a cause and consequence of cancer. Understanding the dynamic nature of epigenetics in cancer development and progression has opened new avenues for diagnosis and treatment, as well as the development of epigenetic therapies that hold great promise. As research in this field continues to advance, the potential for personalized and more effective cancer treatments becomes increasingly attainable. Recognizing the significance of epigenetics in cancer is a crucial step toward achieving a deeper understanding of this complex disease and ultimately improving patient outcomes


  1. Sun T, Plutynski A, Ward S, et al. An integrative view on sex differences in brain tumors. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015;72:3323-42.
  2. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  3. Zhao S, Zhang X, Chen S, et al. Natural antisense transcripts in the biological hallmarks of cancer: powerful regulators hidden in the dark. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2020 ;39:1-8..
  4. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  5. Xie Z, Zhou Z, Yang S, et al. Epigenetic regulation and therapeutic targets in the tumor microenvironment. Molecular Biomedicine. 2023;4(1):17.
  6. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  7. Dada R, Kumar M, Jesudasan R, et al. Epigenetics and its role in male infertility. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2012;29:213-23.
  8. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  9. Suraweera N, Duval A, Reperant M, et al. Evaluation of tumor microsatellite instability using five quasimonomorphic mononucleotide repeats and pentaplex PCR. Gastroenterology. 2002 ;123(6):1804-11.
  10. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  11. Tabatabaei SN, Derbali RM, Yang C, Superstein R, Hamel P, Chain JL, Hardy P. Co-delivery of miR-181a and melphalan by lipid nanoparticles for treatment of seeded retinoblastoma. J Control Release. 2019;298:177-85.
  12. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  13. Aihara K, Mukasa A, Nagae G, et al. Genetic and epigenetic stability of oligodendrogliomas at recurrence. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2017;5:1-1.
  14. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  15. Zhao Z, Wang L, Di LJ. Compartmentation of metabolites in regulating epigenomes of cancer. J Mol Med. 2016;22(1):349-60.
  16. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  17. Hussen BM, Kheder RK, Abdullah ST, et al. Functional interplay between long non-coding RNAs and Breast CSCs. Cancer Cell Int. 2022;22(1):233.
  18. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  19. Zhang Y, Moriguchi H. Chromatin remodeling system, cancer stem-like attractors, and cellular reprogramming. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011;68:3557-71.
  20. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref


Get the App