714 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.714ecancer 11
Gastric cancer, a malignant and highly proliferative condition, has significantly affected a large population around the globe and is known to be caused by various factors including genetic, epigenetic, and environmental influences. Though the global trend of these cancers is declining, an increase in its frequency is still a threat because of changing lifestyles and dietary habits. However, genetic and epigenetic alterations related to gastric cancers also have an equivalent contribution towards carcinogenic development. DNA methylation is one of the major forms of epigenetic modification which plays a significant role in gastric carcinogenesis. Methylation leads to inactivation of some of the most important genes like DNA repair genes, cell cycle regulators, apoptotic genes, transcriptional regulators, and signalling pathway regulators; which subsequently cause uncontrolled proliferation of cells. Mutations in these genes can be used as suitable prognostic markers for early diagnosis of the disease, since late diagnosis of gastric cancers has a huge negative impact on overall patient survival. In this review, we focus on the important epigenetic mutations that contribute to the development of gastric cancer and the molecular pathogenesis underlying each of them. Methylation, acetylation, and histone modifications play an integral role in the onset of genomic instability, one of the many contributory factors to gastric cancer. This article also covers the constraints of incomplete knowledge of epigenetic factors influencing gastric cancer, thus throwing light on our understanding of the disease.
Keywords: gastric cancer, epigenetics, histone modification, methylation, microsatellite instability
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