DNA methylation: A promising target for the twenty-first century

Paula A. Abreu, Gisela Dellamora-Ortiz, Luiz R. Leão-Ferreira, Maria Gouveia, Esteban Braggio, Ilana Zalcberg, Dilvani O. Santos, Saulo Bourguinhon, Lucio M. Cabral, Carlos R. Rodrigues, Helena C. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Over the last few years DNA methylation and its involvement in diseases such as cancer has become of great interest for applied research. Since reversal of aberrant DNA methylation may influence the behavior of tumors, the methylation of DNA CpG sites is a potential target for the development of inhibitors for use in cancer treatment. Objective/methods: We briefly review the structural and mechanistic features of DNA methylation, including a structural analysis of the three main human DNA methyltransferases and some (pre)clinical results. Results/conclusion: Despite side effects, data obtained to date still support the vision that DNA-methylation, possibly associated with the use of histone deacetylases (HDACs) and/or artificial transcription factors (ATFs), is a promising target for improving anticancer therapy in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1047
Number of pages13
JournalExpert opinion on therapeutic targets
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Cancer
  • CpG sites
  • DNA methylation
  • Methyltransferases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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