Circadian clocks, epigenetics, and cancer

Selma Masri, Kenichiro Kinouchi, Paolo Sassone-Corsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


The interplay between circadian rhythm and cancer has been suggested for more than a decade based on the observations that shift work and cancer incidence are linked. Accumulating evidence implicates the circadian clock in cancer survival and proliferation pathways. At the molecular level, multiple control mechanisms have been proposed to link circadian transcription and cell-cycle control to tumorigenesis.The circadian gating of the cell cycle and subsequent control of cell proliferation is an area of active investigation. Moreover, the circadian clock is a transcriptional system that is intricately regulated at the epigenetic level. Interestingly, the epigenetic landscape at the level of histone modifications, DNA methylation, and small regulatory RNAs are differentially controlled in cancer cells. This concept raises the possibility that epigenetic control is a common thread linking the clock with cancer, though little scientific evidence is known to date.This review focuses on the link between circadian clock and cancer, and speculates on the possible connections at the epigenetic level that could further link the circadian clock to tumor initiation or progression.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Work in the Sassone-Corsi laboratory is supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH), INSERM (Institut National de la Sante et la Recherche Medicale, France), KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia), and Merieux Pharmaceuticals (France). S.M. is supported by the UC Irvine Chao Family Cancer Center and K.K. is supported by a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Circadian clocks, epigenetics, and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this