DNA Methylation as a Therapeutic Target for Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

Cells. 2020 Aug 7;9(8):E1850. doi: 10.3390/cells9081850.


Bladder cancer (BC) is the tenth most frequent cancer worldwide and is associated with high mortality when diagnosed in its most aggressive form, which is not reverted by the current treatment options. Thus, the development of new therapeutic strategies, either alternative or complementary to the current ones, is of major importance. The disruption of normal epigenetic mechanisms, namely, DNA methylation, is a known early event in cancer development. Consequently, DNA methyltransferase (DNMT)

inhibitors constitute a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of BC. Although these inhibitors, mainly nucleoside analogues such as 5-azacytidine (5-aza) and decitabine (DAC), cause re-expression of tumor suppressor genes, inhibition of tumor cell growth, and increased apoptosis in BC experimental models and clinical trials, they also show important drawbacks that prevent their use as a valuable option for the treatment of BC. However, their combination with chemotherapy and/or immune-checkpoint inhibitors could aid in their implementation in the clinical practice. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the studies exploring the effects of DNA methylation inhibition using DNMTs inhibitors in BC, from in vitro and in vivo studies to clinical trials.