DNA fingerprinting techniques for the analysis of genetic and epigenetic alterations in colorectal cancer.

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (SBMRI), 10901N. Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States.
Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis (Impact Factor: 4.44). 11/2010; 693(1-2):61-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2010.08.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genetic somatic alterations are fundamental hallmarks of cancer. In addition to point and other small mutations targeting cancer genes, solid tumors often exhibit aneuploidy as well as multiple chromosomal rearrangements of large fragments of the genome. Whether somatic chromosomal alterations and aneuploidy are a driving force or a mere consequence of tumorigenesis remains controversial. Recently it became apparent that not only genetic but also epigenetic alterations play a major role in carcinogenesis. Epigenetic regulation mechanisms underlie the maintenance of cell identity crucial for development and differentiation. These epigenetic regulatory mechanisms have been found substantially altered during cancer development and progression. In this review, we discuss approaches designed to analyze genetic and epigenetic alterations in colorectal cancer, especially DNA fingerprinting approaches to detect changes in DNA copy number and methylation. DNA fingerprinting techniques, despite their modest throughput, played a pivotal role in significant discoveries in the molecular basis of colorectal cancer. The aim of this review is to revisit the fingerprinting technologies employed and the oncogenic processes that they unveiled.

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