Gut and Liver 2007; 1(1): 001-011 https://doi.org/10.5009/gnl.2007.1.1.1 Epigenetic Changes (Aberrant DNA Methylation) in Colorectal Neoplasia
Author Information
Young S. Kim and Guoren Deng
Gastrointestinal Research Laboratory, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA

Young S. Kim
© The Korean Society of Gastroenterology, the Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Korean College of Helicobacter and Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Korean Association the Study of Intestinal Diseases, the Korean Association for the Study of the Liver, Korean Pancreatobiliary Association, and Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Cancer. All rights reserved.

Abstract
Both genetic and epigenetic events have been implicated in the stepwise histological progression involving adenoma-carcinoma and hyperplastic polyp/serrated adenoma-carcinoma sequences in the development of colorectal cancer. Genetic changes have been observed at each step in the initiation and progression of polyps to adenocarcinomas. Epigenetic changes also occur at each step in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancers and include CpG island DNA hypermethylation in the promoter region of genes resulting in transcriptional silencing through associated changes in chromatin structure and effects on binding of transcription factors, and DNA global hypomethylation which leads to chromosomal instability. Recent studies on MLH1 and APC genes indicate that epigenetic and genetic changes cooperate to facilitate tumor initiation and progression. Since aberrant CGI DNA promoter hypermethylation can be detected not only in colorectal polyps and cancers, but also in sera and stool, hypermethylated genes may serve as molecular markers for early detection, risk assessment and diagnosis. In addition, silenced genes caused by CGI DNA promoter hypermethylation can be reactivated by demethylating agents and also by both the inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases and histone deacetylases. Therefore, these epigenetically acting drugs should be evaluated for their chemopreventive and therapeutic potential for colorectal cancers. (Gut and Liver 2007;1:1-11)
Keywords: Epigenetic changes; DNA methylation; DNA hypomethylation; CpG island; Colorectal polyps; Colorectal cancer
Abstract
Both genetic and epigenetic events have been implicated in the stepwise histological progression involving adenoma-carcinoma and hyperplastic polyp/serrated adenoma-carcinoma sequences in the development of colorectal cancer. Genetic changes have been observed at each step in the initiation and progression of polyps to adenocarcinomas. Epigenetic changes also occur at each step in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancers and include CpG island DNA hypermethylation in the promoter region of genes resulting in transcriptional silencing through associated changes in chromatin structure and effects on binding of transcription factors, and DNA global hypomethylation which leads to chromosomal instability. Recent studies on MLH1 and APC genes indicate that epigenetic and genetic changes cooperate to facilitate tumor initiation and progression. Since aberrant CGI DNA promoter hypermethylation can be detected not only in colorectal polyps and cancers, but also in sera and stool, hypermethylated genes may serve as molecular markers for early detection, risk assessment and diagnosis. In addition, silenced genes caused by CGI DNA promoter hypermethylation can be reactivated by demethylating agents and also by both the inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases and histone deacetylases. Therefore, these epigenetically acting drugs should be evaluated for their chemopreventive and therapeutic potential for colorectal cancers. (Gut and Liver 2007;1:1-11)
Keywords: Epigenetic changes; DNA methylation; DNA hypomethylation; CpG island; Colorectal polyps; Colorectal cancer
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