Nutritional and Lifestyle Impact on Epigenetics and Cancer

Part of the Energy Balance and Cancer book series (EBAC, volume 11)


Nutrition and lifestyle factors play an important role in human health as dietary imbalances are major determinants of several diseases including cancer. Emerging studies suggest that diet and nutrition can impact gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic modifications are heritable and cause potentially reversible changes in gene expression that do not require alteration in DNA sequence. Epigenetic marks include changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications, and small noncoding miRNA. Aberrant epigenetic modifications probably occur at an early stage in neoplastic development and are widely described as essential players in cancer progression. Epigenetic modifications also mediate environmental signals and provide links between susceptibility genes and environmental factors in the etiology of cancer. The present chapter initially highlights the role of various epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation and maintenance of mammalian genome. Focusing on the effect of various endogenous factors that include environmental, lifestyle, nutritional, and social-economic/racial aspects; this chapter discusses their impact on the process of carcinogenesis through various epigenetic modifications. Elucidating the impact of nutrition and lifestyle factors on epigenetic mechanisms may serve as a personalized prediction tool assessing cancer susceptibility and in providing recommendation and guide for prevention and therapeutic options against cancer.


DNA methylation Histone modification Noncoding RNA Dietary agents Gene−environment interaction Carcinogens Chemoprevention 



African American


Benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide


Caucasian American


Deoxyribonucleic acid


DNA methyltransferases




Estrogen receptor


Enhancer of zeste homolog 2


Glutathione S-transferase pi


Green tea polyphenols


Histone acetyltransferase


Histone deacetylases


Histone demethylases


Human mutL homolog 1


Histone methyltransferases


Human papillomavirus


Insulin-like growth factor


Long interspersed nuclear element


Long noncoding RNA


Lysine specific demethylase 1


Methyl-binding domain proteins


O(6)-methylguanine methyltransferase




Noncoding RNA


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Polycomb-group proteins


Piwi-interacting RNA


Retinoic acid receptor beta


Short repeat RNA




S-adenosyl methionine




Small interfering RNA


Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-3



The original work from author’s laboratory outlined in this chapter was supported by United States Public Health Service Grants R01CA115491, R01CA108512, R21CA193080, and R03CA186179, and Department of Veteran Affairs grant 1I01BX002494 to SG.

Conflict of Interest: The authors have no competing interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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