Epigenetic mechanisms in anti-cancer actions of bioactive food components--the implications in cancer prevention.
ABSTRACT The hallmarks of carcinogenesis are aberrations in gene expression and protein function caused by both genetic and epigenetic modifications. Epigenetics refers to the changes in gene expression programming that alter the phenotype in the absence of a change in DNA sequence. Epigenetic modifications, which include amongst others DNA methylation, covalent modifications of histone tails and regulation by non-coding RNAs, play a significant role in normal development and genome stability. The changes are dynamic and serve as an adaptation mechanism to a wide variety of environmental and social factors including diet. A number of studies have provided evidence that some natural bioactive compounds found in food and herbs can modulate gene expression by targeting different elements of the epigenetic machinery. Nutrients that are components of one-carbon metabolism, such as folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, cobalamin, choline, betaine and methionine, affect DNA methylation by regulating the levels of S-adenosyl-L-methionine, a methyl group donor, and S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine, which is an inhibitor of enzymes catalyzing the DNA methylation reaction. Other natural compounds target histone modifications and levels of non-coding RNAs such as vitamin D, which recruits histone acetylases, or resveratrol, which activates the deacetylase sirtuin and regulates oncogenic and tumour suppressor micro-RNAs. As epigenetic abnormalities have been shown to be both causative and contributing factors in different health conditions including cancer, natural compounds that are direct or indirect regulators of the epigenome constitute an excellent approach in cancer prevention and potentially in anti-cancer therapy.
Article: Vitamin D Intake Is Negatively Associated with Promoter Methylation of the Wnt Antagonist Gene DKK1 in a Large Group of Colorectal Cancer Patients.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Diet and lifestyle influence colorectal cancer (CRC) risk but the molecular events that mediate these effects are poorly characterized. Several dietary and lifestyle factors can modulate DNA methylation suggesting that they may influence CRC risk through epigenetic regulation of cancer-related genes. The Wnt regulatory genes DKK1 and Wnt5a are important contributors to colonic carcinogenesis and are often silenced by promoter hypermethylation in CRC; however, the dietary contributions to these events have not been explored. To investigate the link between dietary/lifestyle factors and epigenetic regulation of these Wnt signaling genes, we assessed promoter methylation of these genes in a large cohort of Canadian CRC patients from Ontario (n = 549) and Newfoundland (n = 443) and examined associations to dietary/lifestyle factors implicated in CRC risk and/or DNA methylation including intake of vitamins, fats, cholesterol, fiber, and alcohol as well as body mass index (BMI), and smoking status. Several factors were associated with methylation status including alcohol intake, BMI, and cigarette smoking. Most significantly, however, dietary vitamin D intake was strongly negatively associated with DKK1 methylation in Newfoundland (P = 0.001) and a similar trend was observed in Ontario. These results suggest that vitamin D and other dietary/lifestyle factors may alter CRC risk by mediating extracellular Wnt inhibition.Nutrition and Cancer 09/2012; 64(7):919-28. · 2.78 Impact Factor
Article: Histone demethylase GASC1 - a potential prognostic and predictive marker in invasive breast cancer.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The histone demethylase GASC1 (JMJD2C) is an epigenetic factor suspected of involvement in development of different cancers including breast cancer. It is thought be overexpressed in the more aggressive breast cancer types based on mRNA expression studies on cell lines and meta analysis of human breast cancer sets. This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic and predictive value of GASC1 for women with invasive breast cancer. METHODS: All the 355 cases were selected from a cohort enrolled in the Kuopio Breast Cancer Project between April 1990 and December 1995. The expression of GASC1 was studied by immunohistochemistry (IHC) on tissue microarrays. Additionally relative GASC1 mRNA expression was measured from available 57 cases. RESULTS: In our material, 56% of the cases were GASC1 negative and 44% positive in IHC staining. Women with GASC1 negative tumors had two years shorter breast cancer specific survival and time to relapse than the women with GASC1 positive tumors (p=0.017 and p=0.034 respectively). The majority of GASC1 negative tumors were ductal cases (72%) of higher histological grade (84% of grade II and III altogether). When we evaluated estrogen receptor negative and progesterone receptor negative cases separately there was 2 times more GASC1 negative than GASC1 positive tumors in each group (chi2, p= 0.033 and 0.001 respectively). In the HER2 positive cases, there was 3 times more GASC1 negative cases than GASC1 positives (chi2, p= 0.029). Patients treated with radiotherapy (n=206) and hormonal treatment (n=62) had better breast cancer specific survival when they were GASC1 positive (Cox regression: HR=0.49, p=0.007 and HR=0.33, p=0.015, respectively). The expression of GASC1 mRNA was in agreement with the protein analysis. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that GASC1 is both a prognostic and a predictive factor for women with invasive breast cancer. GASC1 negativity is associated with tumors of more aggressive histopathological types (ductal type, grade II and III, ER negative, PR negative). Patients with GASC1 positive tumors have better breast cancer specific survival and respond better to radiotherapy and hormonal treatment.BMC Cancer 11/2012; 12(1):516. · 3.01 Impact Factor