The human cell requires ways to specify its transcriptome without altering the essential sequence of DNA; this is achieved through mechanisms which govern the epigenetic state of DNA and epitranscriptomic state of RNA. These alterations can be found as modified histone proteins, cytosine DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs, and mRNA modifications, such as N6-methyladenosine (m6A). The different aspects of epigenomic and epitranscriptomic modifications require protein complexes to write, read, and erase these chemical alterations. Reflecting these important roles, many of these reader/writer/eraser proteins are either frequently mutated or differentially expressed in cancer. The disruption of epigenetic regulation in the cell can both contribute to cancer initiation and progression, and increase the likelihood of developing resistance to chemotherapies. Development of therapeutics to target proteins involved in epigenomic/epitranscriptomic modifications has been intensive, but further refinement is necessary to achieve ideal treatment outcomes without too many off-target effects for cancer patients. Therefore, further integration of clinical outcomes combined with large-scale genomic analyses is imperative for furthering understanding of epigenomic mechanisms in cancer.

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