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Recent developments in epigenetic cancer therapeutics: clinical advancement and emerging trends

Kunal Nepali,
Journal of Biomedical Science , Volume 28, pp 1-58; doi:10.1186/s12929-021-00721-x

Abstract: Epigenetic drug discovery field has evidenced significant advancement in the recent times. A plethora of small molecule inhibitors have progressed to clinical stage investigations and are being explored exhaustively to ascertain conclusive benefits in diverse malignancies. Literature precedents indicates that substantial amount of efforts were directed towards the use of epigenetic tools in monotherapy as well as in combination regimens at the clinical level, however, the preclinical/preliminary explorations were inclined towards the identification of prudent approaches that can leverage the anticancer potential of small molecule epigenetic inhibitors as single agents only. This review article presents an update of FDA approved epigenetic drugs along with the epigenetic inhibitors undergoing clinical stage investigations in different cancer types. A detailed discussion of the pragmatic strategies that are expected to steer the progress of the epigenetic therapy through the implementation of emerging approaches such as PROTACS and CRISPR/Cas9 along with logical ways for scaffold fabrication to selectively approach the enzyme isoforms in pursuit of garnering amplified antitumor effects has been covered. In addition, the compilation also presents the rational strategies for the construction of multi-targeting scaffold assemblages employing previously identified pharmacophores as potential alternatives to the combination therapy.
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9 / Multitargeting / Cancer / Inhibitors / Epigenetics / Scaffolds / Mechanisms / PROTACS

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