Opportunities for Single-Cell Approaches in Cancer Epigenomics
Moreno Gonzalez, Marta
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Epigenetic alterations are reversible modifications that alter the way gene expression is regulated without changing the underlying DNA sequence. They play a key role in both healthy development, as well as in diseases like cancer. During the last decade, we have seen the development of novel methods to study the different layers of the epigenome (DNA methylation, histone modifications, non-coding RNAs, chromatin accessibility, and chromatin architecture) at a single-cell level. These methods provide a unique opportunity to study the impact of epigenetics in the development of intra-tumor heterogeneity and its effects on cancer development, drug resistance, and progression towards metastasis. In this review, we provide an overview of how epigenetic modifications regulate gene expression and the currently existing single-cell epigenomic methods, as well as an explanation on how these methods can be used to expand our current knowledge on the role of epigenetics in cancer.