In addition to well-established genetic abnormalities -particularly gene mutations, deletions or translocations -, epigenetic abnormalities are also implicated in the development and progression of hematological malignancies. As such, the constitutive pattern of DNA methylation and histone acetylation observed in normal hematopoietic cells is remarkably altered in both myeloid and lymphoid tumors. Recent advances in the understanding of these transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms in normal B and T cells as well as malignant lymphoid cells have been instrumental in the development of novel diagnostic markers, prognostic classification and targeted therapeutic approaches. This review focuses on the most important epigenetic alterations discovered in lymphoma-derived cell lines and primary lymphoid tumors and how pharmacologic manipulation of these abnormalities could eventually change the way we treat them in the clinic.
Keywords: DNA methylation, Histone acetylation, Demethylating agents, Histone deacetylase inhibitors, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
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