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Romieu I.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC
Salud Publica de Mexico

Both diet and nutrition have been studied in relationship with breast cancer risk, as the great variation among different countries in breast cancer incidence could possibly be explained through the inflammatory and immune response, as well as antioxidant intake, among others. To date, no clear association with diet beyond overweight and weight gain has been found, except for alcohol consumption. Nonetheless, the small number of studies done in middle to low income countries where variability of food intake is wider, is beginning to show interesting results. Source

Sincic N.,University of Zagreb | Herceg Z.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC
Current Opinion in Oncology

Purpose of review: To discuss recent advances in the field of DNA methylation and their impact on our understanding of the role of this epigenetic mechanism in cancer development, as well as their implications for biomarker discovery and therapy. Recent findings: Epigenetics is a new frontier in cancer research with tremendous impact on our thinking and understanding of biological phenomena and complex diseases, notably cancer. Over the past decade there has been remarkable progress in our knowledge of the importance of epigenetic events in the control of both normal cellular processes and abnormal events associated with tumor development and progression. DNA methylation is a major epigenetic mechanism that is most intensively studied in the context of gene regulation and unscheduled silencing in cancer cells. Although hypermethylation of gene promoters is in turn associated with gene inactivation, the precise consequences of genome-wide hypomethylation are still debated. Recent studies have shed new light on the mechanisms underlying both promoter-specific hypermethylation and global hypomethylation in cancer cells and identified potential targets for biomarker discovery and therapeutic intervention. Summary: Recent conceptual advances in the field of DNA methylation and the advent and rapid development of new technologies in epigenomics have started to unravel the mechanisms underlying aberrant DNA methylation in cancer cells and identify novel targets for diagnosis, risk assessment and therapy. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

Schuz J.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC
Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology

There is an ongoing scientific controversy whether the observed association between exposure to residential extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) and the risk of childhood leukaemia observed in epidemiological studies is causal or due to methodological shortcomings of those studies. Recent pooled analysis confirm results from previous studies, namely an approximately two-fold risk increase at ELF-MF exposures ≥0.4 μT, and demonstrate consistency of studies across countries, with different design, different methods of exposure assessment, and different systems of power transmission and distribution. On the other hand, recent pooled analyses for childhood brain tumour show little evidence for an association with ELF-MF, also at exposures ≥0.4 μT. Overall, the assessment that ELF-MF are a possible carcinogen and may cause childhood leukaemia remains valid. Ongoing research activities, mainly experimental and few new epidemiological studies, hopefully provide additional insight to bring clarity to a research area that has remained inconclusive. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Hernandez-Vargas H.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC
BMC biotechnology

BACKGROUND: Neonatal dried blood spots (DBS) represent an inexpensive method for long-term biobanking worldwide and are considered gold mines for research for several human diseases, including those of metabolic, infectious, genetic and epigenetic origin. However, the utility of DBS is restricted by the limited amount and quality of extractable biomolecules (including DNA), especially for genome wide profiling. Degradation of DNA in DBS often occurs during storage and extraction. Moreover, amplifying small quantities of DNA often leads to a bias in subsequent data, particularly in methylome profiles. Thus it is important to develop methodologies that maximize both the yield and quality of DNA from DBS for downstream analyses.RESULTS: Using combinations of in-house-derived and modified commercial extraction kits, we developed a robust and efficient protocol, compatible with methylome studies, many of which require stringent bisulfite conversion steps. Several parameters were tested in a step-wise manner, including blood extraction, cell lysis, protein digestion, and DNA precipitation, purification and elution. DNA quality was assessed based on spectrophotometric measurements, DNA detectability by PCR, and DNA integrity by gel electrophoresis and bioanalyzer analyses. Genome scale Infinium HumanMethylation450 and locus-specific pyrosequencing data generated using the refined DBS extraction protocol were of high quality, reproducible and consistent.CONCLUSIONS: This study may prove useful to meet the increased demand for research on prenatal, particularly epigenetic, origins of human diseases and for newborn screening programs, all of which are often based on DNA extracted from DBS. Source

Herceg Z.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC | Vaissiere T.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC

Although epidemiological studies support the role of the environment in a wide range of human cancers, the precise mechanisms by which environmental exposures promote cancer development and progression remain poorly understood. Environmental factors have been proposed to promote the development of malignancies by eliciting epigenetic changes; however, it is only with recent advances in epigenetics and epigenomics that target genes and the mechanisms underlying environmental influences are beginning to be elucidated. Because epigenetic mechanisms may function as an interface between environmental factors and the genome, deregulation of the epigenome by environmental stressors is likely to disrupt different cellular processes and contribute to cancer risk. In addition, the early appearance and ubiquity of epigenetic changes in virtually all steps of tumor development and progression in most, if not all, human neoplasms, make them attractive targets for biomarker discovery and targeted prevention. At the cellular level, aberrant epigenetic changes associated with environmental exposures may deregulate key cellular processes (including transcriptional control, DNA repair, cell cycle control and carcinogen detoxification), which can be further modulated by environmental stressors, thus defining not only the phenotype of the disease but also potential biomarkers. This review summarizes recent progress in our understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms through which environmental factors may promote tumor development, with a particular focus on human lung cancer. © 2011 Landes Bioscience. Source

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