The role of Epigenetics in Kidney malignancies

Alfredo Harb-De la Rosa, Matthew Acker, Sanjaya Swain, Murugesan Manoharan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction Renal cell carcinomas (RCC) are collectively the third most common type of genitourinary neoplasms, surpassed only by prostate and bladder cancer. Cure rates for renal cell carcinoma are related to tumor grade and stage; therefore, diagnostic methods for early detection and new therapeutic modalities are of paramount importance. Epigenetics can be defined as inherited modifications in gene expression that are not encoded in the DNA sequence itself. Epigenetics may play an important role in the pursuit of early diagnosis, accurate prognostication and identification of new therapeutic targets. Material and methods We used PubMed to conduct a comprehensive search of the English medical literature using search terms including epigenetics, DNA methylation, histone modification, microRNA regulation (miRNA) and RCC. In this review, we discuss the potential application of epigenetics in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of kidney cancer. Results During the last decade, many different types of epigenetic alterations of DNA have been found to be associated with malignant renal tumors. This has led to the research of the diagnostic and prognostic implications of these changes in renal malignancies as well as to the development of novel drugs to target these changes, with the aim of achieving a survival benefit. Conclusions Epigenetics has become a promising field in cancer research. The potential to achieve early detection and accurate prognostication in kidney cancer might be feasible through the application of epigenetics. The possibility to reverse these epigenetic changes with new therapeutic agents motivates researchers to continue pursuing better treatment options for kidney cancer and other malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalCentral European Journal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • DNA methylation
  • Histone modification
  • Kidney cancer
  • MicroRNA regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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