Epigenetic biomarkers Cancer DNA methylation Micro-RNAs
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Palanca-Ballester, C.; Rodríguez Casanova, A.; Torres, S.; et al. "Cancer epigenetic biomarkers in liquid biopsy for high incidence malignancies". Cancers. 13 (12), 2021, 3016
Simple Summary Apart from genetic changes, cancer is characterized by epigenetic alterations, which indicate modifications in the DNA (such as DNA methylation) and histones (such as methylation and acetylation), as well as gene expression regulation by non-coding (nc)RNAs. These changes can be used in biological fluids (liquid biopsies) for diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of cancer drug response. Although these alterations are not widely used as biomarkers in the clinical practice yet, increasing number of commercial kits and clinical trials are expected to prove that epigenetic changes are able to offer valuable information for cancer patients. Early alterations in cancer include the deregulation of epigenetic events such as changes in DNA methylation and abnormal levels of non-coding (nc)RNAs. Although these changes can be identified in tumors, alternative sources of samples may offer advantages over tissue biopsies. Because tumors shed DNA, RNA, and proteins, biological fluids containing these molecules can accurately reflect alterations found in cancer cells, not only coming from the primary tumor, but also from metastasis and from the tumor microenvironment (TME). Depending on the type of cancer, biological fluids encompass blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and saliva, among others. Such samples are named with the general term "liquid biopsy" (LB).