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Epigenetic aberrations, associated with altered DNA methylation profiles and global changes in the level of histone modifications, are commonly detected in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). Recently, histone lysine demethylases have been implicated in the pathogenesis of HNSCC and emerged as potential molecular targets. Histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) catalyze the removal of methyl groups from lysine residues in histones. By affecting the methylation of H3K4, H3K9, H3K27, or H3K36, these enzymes take part in transcriptional regulation, which may result in changes in the level of expression of tumor suppressor genes and protooncogenes. KDMs are involved in many biological processes, including cell cycle control, senescence, DNA damage response, and heterochromatin formation. They are also important regulators of pluripotency. The overexpression of most KDMs has been observed in HNSCC, and their inhibition affects cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell motility, invasiveness, and stemness. Of all KDMs, KDM1, KDM4, KDM5, and KDM6 proteins are currently regarded as the most promising prognostic and therapeutic targets in head and neck cancers. The aim of this review is to present up-to-date knowledge on the significance of histone lysine demethylases in head and neck carcinogenesis and to discuss the possibility of using them as prognostic markers and pharmacological targets in patients' treatment.


Dawid Dorna, Jarosław Paluszczak. The Emerging Significance of Histone Lysine Demethylases as Prognostic Markers and Therapeutic Targets in Head and Neck Cancers. Cells. 2022 Mar 17;11(6)

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PMID: 35326475

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