Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Basic mechanics of DNA methylation and the unique landscape of the DNA methylome in metal-induced carcinogenesis.

Authors: Brocato, Jason; Costa, Max

Published In Crit Rev Toxicol, (2013 Jul)

Abstract: DNA methylation plays an intricate role in the regulation of gene expression and events that compromise the integrity of the methylome may potentially contribute to disease development. DNA methylation is a reversible and regulatory modification that elicits a cascade of events leading to chromatin condensation and gene silencing. In general, normal cells are characterized by gene-specific hypomethylation and global hypermethylation, while cancer cells portray a reverse profile to this norm. The unique methylome displayed in cancer cells is induced after exposure to carcinogenic metals such as nickel, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium (VI). These metals alter the DNA methylation profile by provoking both hyper- and hypo-methylation events. The metal-stimulated deviations to the methylome are possible mechanisms for metal-induced carcinogenesis and may provide potential biomarkers for cancer detection. Development of therapies based on the cancer methylome requires further research including human studies that supply results with larger impact and higher human relevance.

PubMed ID: 23844698 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Arsenic/toxicity; Cadmium/toxicity; Carcinogenesis/drug effects*; DNA Methylation/drug effects*; Gene Silencing; Genome, Human; Genomics; Humans; Metals, Heavy/toxicity*; Neoplasms/chemically induced; Neoplasms/genetics; Neoplasms/pathology; Nickel/toxicity

to Top