top of page
< Back

Vitamin C - A new player in regulation of the cancer epigenome

Gillberg, Linn; Ørskov, Andreas D.; Liu, Minmin; Harsløf, Laurine B. S.; Jones, Peter A.; Grønbæk, Kirsten

Date Published:





Extra Links:



PMID: 29102482


Over the past few years it has become clear that vitamin C, as a provider of reduced iron, is an essential factor for the function of epigenetic regulators that initiate the demethylation of DNA and histones. Vitamin C deficiency is rare in the general population, but is frequently observed in patients with cancer. Genes encoding epigenetic regulators are often mutated in cancer, underscoring their central roles in carcinogenesis. In hematological cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), drugs that reverse epigenetic aberrations are now the standard of care. Recent in vitro studies suggest that vitamin C at physiological concentrations, combined with hypomethylating agents may act synergistically to cause DNA demethylation through active and passive mechanisms, respectively. Additionally, several recent studies have renewed interest in the use of pharmacological doses of vitamin C injected intravenously to selectively kill tumor cells. This review will focus on the potential of vitamin C to optimize the outcome of epigenetic therapy in cancer patients and alternatively to act as a therapeutic at high doses.

Automatic Tags

Humans; Antioxidants; Cancer treatment; Neoplasms; Epigenesis, Genetic; DNA Methylation; Epigenetics; Epigenomics; Vitamin C; Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic; Hematological malignancies

bottom of page