Department of Ophthalmology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai JiaoTong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Uveal melanoma (UM) is a severe human malignancy with a high mortality rate that demands continued research into new and alternative forms of prevention and treatment. The emerging field of epigenetics is beginning to unfold an era of contemporary approaches to reducing the risk and improving the clinical treatment of UM. Epigenetic changes have a high prevalence rate in cancer, are reversible in nature, and can lead to cancer characteristics even in mutation-free cells. The information contained in this review highlights and expands on the main mechanisms of epigenetic dysregulation in UM tumorigenesis, progression and metastasis, including microRNA expression, hypermethylation of genes and histone modification. Epigenetic drugs have been shown to enhance tumor suppressor gene expression and drug sensitivity in many other cancer cell lines and animal models. An increased understanding of epigenetic mechanisms in UM will be invaluable in the design of more potent epigenetic drugs, which when used in combination with traditional therapies, may permit improved therapeutic outcomes.
Keywords: Epigenetics, Gene Therapy, MicroRNA, DNA Methylation, Uveal Melanoma.