Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Epigenetic mechanisms are essential for normal development and maintenance of adult life. Disruption of epigenetic processes results in deregulated gene expression and leads to life-threatening diseases, in particular, cancer. Global epigenetic alterations are a hallmark of cancer. Cancer epigenetics revealed the deregulation of all components of the epigenetic machinery including DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin structure, and non-coding RNAs. Drugs targeting epigenetic processes, or "epi-drugs", are at the forefront of drug discovery, and plant-derived compounds have shown promise. Most of the plant-derived anticancer drugs that work through epigenetic mechanisms are polyphenols; the others are alkaloids, organosulfur compounds, and terpenoids. This review focuses on the epigenetic machinery and its basis for cancer therapy, highlights plant-derived anticancer drugs with epigenetic mechanisms of action, and discusses their potential use in epigenetic therapy.