The role of epigenetics in environmental and occupational carcinogenesis

Dominique Ziech, Rodrigo Franco, Aglaia Pappa, Vasiliki Malamou-Mitsi, Stavroula Georgakila, Alexandros G. Georgakilas, Mihalis I. Panayiotidis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Over the last few years there has been an increasing effort in identifying environmental and occupational carcinogenic agents and linking them to the incidence of a variety of human cancers. The carcinogenic process itself is multistage and rather complex involving several different mechanisms by which various carcinogenic agents exert their effect. Amongst them are epigenetic mechanisms often involving silencing of tumor suppressor genes and/or activation of proto-oncogenes, respectively. These alterations in gene expression are considered critical during carcinogenesis and have been observed in many environmental- and occupational-induced human cancers. Some of the underlying mechanisms proposed to account for such differential gene expression include alterations in DNA methylation and/or histone modifications. Throughout this article, we aim to provide a current account of our understanding on how the epigenetic pathway is involved in contributing to an altered gene expression profile during human carcinogenesis that ultimately will allow us for better cancer diagnostics and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-349
Number of pages10
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Biomarkers
  • Cancer diagnostics
  • Cancer therapies
  • DNA methylation
  • Environmental carcinogenesis
  • Epigenetics
  • Occupational carcinogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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