Semin. Cancer Biol. 51 (-) 129-138 [2018-08-00; online 2017-09-05]
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common malignancy in children. ALL arises from the malignant transformation of progenitor B- and T-cells in the bone marrow into leukemic cells, but the mechanisms underlying this transformation are not well understood. Recent technical advances and decreasing costs of methods for high-throughput DNA sequencing and SNP genotyping have stimulated systematic studies of the epigenetic changes in leukemic cells from pediatric ALL patients. The results emerging from these studies are increasing our understanding of the epigenetic component of leukemogenesis and have demonstrated the potential of DNA methylation as a biomarker for lineage and subtype classification, prognostication, and disease progression in ALL. In this review, we provide a concise examination of the epigenetic studies in ALL, with a focus on DNA methylation and mutations perturbing genes involved in chromatin modification, and discuss the future role of epigenetic analyses in research and clinical management of ALL.