Changes to the genomic DNA sequence, called mutations, are known to play a critical role in the development of cancer. However, increasing evidence indicates that epigenetic changes (heritable cellular changes in gene expression that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence) also make important contributions to tumorigenesis. For example, promoter hypermethylation plays a major role in cancer through transcriptional silencing of critical growth regulators such as tumor suppressor genes. Other chromatin modifications, such as histone ubiquitination, methylation and acetylation, affect local chromatin structure and regulate gene transcription. Using genome-wide RNA interference screens, we are uncovering epigenetic modulators that play important roles in breast cancer development and progression. The results of these studies are expected to shed light on the role of epigenetic regulation in breast cancer, and suggest new therapeutic approaches.
Citation Format: Green MR. Roles of epigenetic regulation in breast cancer development. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium: 2015 Dec 8-12; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(4 Suppl):Abstract nr BS2-2.