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CpG Islands in cancer: Heads, tails, and sides

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DNA methylation is a dynamic epigenetic mark that characterizes different cellular developmental stages, including tissue-specific profiles. This CpG dinucleotide modification cooperates in the regulation of the output of the cellular genetic content, in both healthy and pathological conditions. According to endogenous and exogenous stimuli, DNA methylation is involved in gene transcription, alternative splicing, imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, and control of transposable elements. When these dinucleotides are organized in dense regions are called CpG islands (CGIs), being commonly known as transcriptional regulatory regions frequently associated with the promoter region of several genes. In cancer, promoter DNA hypermethylation events sustained the mechanistic hypothesis of epigenetic transcriptional silencing of an increasing number of tumor suppressor genes. CGI hypomethylation-mediated reactivation of oncogenes was also documented in several cancer types. In this chapter, we aim to summarize the functional consequences of the differential DNA methylation at CpG dinucleotides in cancer, focused in CGIs. Interestingly, cancer methylome is being recently explored, looking for biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and predictors of drug response.

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Ferreira, H. J., & Esteller, M. (2018). CpG Islands in cancer: Heads, tails, and sides. In Methods in Molecular Biology (Vol. 1766, pp. 49–80). Humana Press Inc.

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