Penile carcinoma (PeCa) represents an important public health problem in poor and developing countries. Despite its unpredictable behavior and aggressive treatment, there have only been a few reports regarding its molecular data, especially epigenetic mechanisms. The functional diversity in different cell types is acquired by chromatin modifications, which are established by epigenetic regulatory mechanisms involving DNA methylation, histone acetylation, and miRNAs. Recent evidence indicates that the dysregulation in these processes can result in the development of several diseases, including cancer. Epigenetic alterations, such as the methylation of CpGs islands, may reveal candidates for the development of specific markers for cancer detection, diagnosis and prognosis. There are a few reports on the epigenetic alterations in PeCa, and most of these studies have only focused on alterations in specific genes in a limited number of cases. This review aims to provide an overview of the current knowledge of the epigenetic alterations in PeCa and the promising results in this field. The identification of epigenetically altered genes in PeCa is an important step in understanding the mechanisms involved in this unexplored disease.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences (online), 2013, Vol 14, Issue 6, p. 10791-808