chapter  4
The Role of Epigenetics in Breast Cancer: Implications for Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment
ByAmy M. Dworkin, Tim H.-M. Huang, and Amanda E. Toland
Pages 15

In the past 10 years, the field of epigenetics has expanded into an essential

component of clinical cancer research and therapeutics. Epigenetic modifications

in DNA or chromatin are stably transmitted over rounds of cell division but do

not result in any permanent alterations to the underlying DNA sequence. These

changes, such as histone modifications and DNA methylation of tumor sup-

pressor genes, are considered a hallmark of certain cancers, including breast

cancer. Unlike germline mutations, epigenetic modifications can potentially be

reversed, making them very appealing for preventative care and therapeutics

against cancers (1). Because of this, demethylating agents are currently being

evaluated for efficacy in the treatment of breast cancer.