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IJMS, Free Full-Text

IJMS, Free Full-Text

Epigenetic modifications are known to regulate cell phenotype during cancer progression, including breast cancer. Unlike genetic alterations, changes in the epigenome are reversible, thus potentially reversed by epi-drugs. Breast cancer, the most common cause of cancer death worldwide in women, encompasses multiple histopathological and molecular subtypes. Several lines of evidence demonstrated distortion of the epigenetic landscape in breast cancer. Interestingly, mammary cells isolated from breast cancer patients and cultured ex vivo maintained the tumorigenic phenotype and exhibited aberrant epigenetic modifications. Recent studies indicated that the therapeutic efficiency for breast cancer regimens has increased over time, resulting in reduced mortality. Future medical treatment for breast cancer patients, however, will likely depend upon a better understanding of epigenetic modifications. The present review aims to outline different epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and ncRNAs with their impact on breast cancer, as well as to discuss studies highlighting the central role of epigenetic mechanisms in breast cancer pathogenesis. We propose new research areas that may facilitate locus-specific epigenome editing as breast cancer therapeutics.

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