About 15–20% of human cancers worldwide have viral etiology. Seven human DNA and RNA viruses
are accepted to be oncogenic viruses or oncoviruses and contribute to the development of various cancer types.
Human oncoviruses have developed multiple molecular mechanisms to interfere with specific cellular pathways
to promote viral replication and viral life cycle maintenance in the host. Despite the diversity of oncogenic viruses,
they use similar strategies for cancer development. Viral oncoproteins and viral non-coding RNAs are the
key factors that can affect multiple cellular processes on both genetic and epigenetic levels.
Epigenetics research allows better understanding of the complex interplay between oncoviruses and the host cells.
This review highlights the importance of epigenetic reprogramming for virus-induced carcinogenesis. Recent
progress in the development of pharmacological tools for targeting epigenetic mechanisms opens new perspectives
for modulation of virus/host interaction and intervention of virus-induced cancer. Several clinical trials have
been carried out or are on-going involving epigenetic drugs not only as single therapeutic but also in combination
with other targeted agents against various virus-induced cancers.
Keywords: Oncoviruses, human cancer, epigenetics, DNA methylation, histone modification, non-coding RNA.
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