Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(2), 2331-2353; doi:10.3390/ijms13022331
Review

Epigenetic Disregulation in Oral Cancer

1 Department of Biomorphological and Functional Sciences, Pathology Section, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples 80131, Italy 2 Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Basilicata (C.R.O.B.) Oncology Research Center of Basilicata, Rionero in Vulture, Potenza 85028, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 December 2011; in revised form: 9 February 2012 / Accepted: 13 February 2012 / Published: 21 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Pathology)
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Abstract: Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral region (OSCC) is one of the most common and highly aggressive malignancies worldwide, despite the fact that significant results have been achieved during the last decades in its detection, prevention and treatment. Although many efforts have been made to define the molecular signatures that identify the clinical outcome of oral cancers, OSCC still lacks reliable prognostic molecular markers. Scientific evidence indicates that transition from normal epithelium to pre-malignancy, and finally to oral carcinoma, depends on the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations in a multistep process. Unlike genetic alterations, epigenetic changes are heritable and potentially reversible. The most common examples of such changes are DNA methylation, histone modification, and small non-coding RNAs. Although several epigenetic changes have been currently linked to OSCC initiation and progression, they have been only partially characterized. Over the last decade, it has been demonstrated that especially aberrant DNA methylation plays a critical role in oral cancer. The major goal of the present paper is to review the recent literature about the epigenetic modifications contribution in early and later phases of OSCC malignant transformation; in particular we point out the current evidence of epigenetic marks as novel markers for early diagnosis and prognosis as well as potential therapeutic targets in oral cancer.
Keywords: epigenetics; oral cancer; tumor progression; prognosis; molecular therapy

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mascolo, M.; Siano, M.; Ilardi, G.; Russo, D.; Merolla, F.; Rosa, G.D.; Staibano, S. Epigenetic Disregulation in Oral Cancer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 2331-2353.

AMA Style

Mascolo M, Siano M, Ilardi G, Russo D, Merolla F, Rosa GD, Staibano S. Epigenetic Disregulation in Oral Cancer. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2012; 13(2):2331-2353.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mascolo, Massimo; Siano, Maria; Ilardi, Gennaro; Russo, Daniela; Merolla, Francesco; Rosa, Gaetano De; Staibano, Stefania. 2012. "Epigenetic Disregulation in Oral Cancer." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 13, no. 2: 2331-2353.

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