Epigenomics of ovarian cancer and its chemoprevention.
Ovarian cancer is a major cause of death among gynecological cancers and its etiology is still unclear. Currently, the two principle obstacles in treating this life threatening disease are lack of effective biomarkers for early detection and drug resistance after initial chemotherapy. Similar to other cancers, the initiation and development of ovarian cancer is characterized by disruption of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes by both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. While it is well known that it is challenging to treat ovarian cancer through a genetic strategy due in part to its heterogeneity, the reversibility of epigenetic mechanisms involved in ovarian cancer opens exciting new avenues for treatment. The epigenomics of ovarian cancer has therefore become a rapidly expanding field leading to intense investigation. A review on the current status of the field is thus warranted. In this analysis, we will evaluate the current status of epigenomics of ovarian cancer and will include epigenetic mechanisms involved in ovarian cancer development such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding microRNA. Development of biomarkers, the epigenetic basis for drug resistance and improved chemotherapy for ovarian cancer will also be assessed. In addition, the potential use of natural compounds as epigenetic modulators in chemotherapy shows promise in moving to the forefront of ovarian cancer treatment strategies.