Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 501–513 | Cite as

DNA Methylation and Cancer Development: Molecular Mechanism

  • Haleh Akhavan-Niaki
  • Ali Akbar SamadaniEmail author
Review Paper


DNA methylation is a significant regulator of gene expression, and its role in carcinogenesis recently has been a subject of remarkable interest. The aim of this review is to analyze the mechanism and cell regulatory effects of both hypo- and hyper-DNA methylation on cancer. In this review, we report new developments and their implications regarding the effects of DNA methylation on cancer development. Indeed, alteration of the pattern of DNA methylation has been a constant finding in cancer cells of the same type and differences in the pattern of DNA methylation not only occur in a variety of tumor types, but also in developmental processes Furthermore, the pattern of histone modification appears to be a predicator of the risk of recurrence of human cancers. It is well known that hypermethylation represses transcription of the promoter sections of tumor-suppressor genes leading to gene silencing. However, hypomethylation also has been identified as a cause of oncogenesis. Furthermore, experiments concerning the mechanism of methylation and its control have led to the discovery of many regulatory enzymes and proteins. This review reports on methods developed for the detection of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine methylation at the 5-methylcytosine of protein domains in the CpG context compared to non-methylated DNA, histone modification, and microRNA change.


DNA methylation Cancer Oncogenesis Histone modification Epigenetics MicroRNA 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cellular and Molecular Biology Research CenterBabol University of Medical SciencesBabolIran

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