Scientific publications

Epigenetics in hepatocellular carcinoma development and therapy: The tip of the iceberg

Aug 7, 2020 | Magazine: JHEP Reports

Maite G Fernández-Barrena, María Arechederra, Leticia Colyn, Carmen Berasain, Matias A Avila


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly tumour whose causative agents are generally well known, but whose pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Nevertheless, key genetic alterations are emerging from a heterogeneous molecular landscape, providing information on the tumorigenic process from initiation to progression. Among these molecular alterations, those that affect epigenetic processes are increasingly recognised as contributing to carcinogenesis from preneoplastic stages.

The epigenetic machinery regulates gene expression through intertwined and partially characterised circuits involving chromatin remodelers, covalent DNA and histone modifications, and dedicated proteins reading these modifications. In this review, we summarise recent findings on HCC epigenetics, focusing mainly on changes in DNA and histone modifications and their carcinogenic implications. We also discuss the potential drugs that target epigenetic mechanisms for HCC treatment, either alone or in combination with current therapies, including immunotherapies.

CITATION  JHEP Rep. 2020 Aug 7;2(6):100167. doi: 10.1016/j.jhepr.2020.100167. eCollection 2020 Dec.