The Epigenetic promise for prostate cancer diagnosis

Leander Van Neste, James G. Herman, Gaëtan Otto, Joseph W. Bigley, Jonathan I. Epstein, Wim Van Criekinge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in men and a leading cause of death. Improvements in disease management would have a significant impact and could be facilitated by the development of biomarkers, whether for diagnostic, prognostic, or predictive purposes. The blood-based prostate biomarker PSA has been part of clinical practice for over two decades, although it is surrounded by controversy. While debates of usefulness are ongoing, alternatives should be explored. Particularly with recent recommendations against routine PSA-testing, the time is ripe to explore promising biomarkers to yield a more efficient and accurate screening for detection and management of prostate cancer. Epigenetic changes, more specifically DNA methylation, are amongst the most common alterations in human cancer. These changes are associated with transcriptional silencing of genes, leading to an altered cellular biology. METHODS One gene in particular, GSTP1, has been widely studied in prostate cancer. Therefore a meta-analysis has been conducted to examine the role of this and other genes and the potential contribution to prostate cancer management and screening refinement. RESULTS More than 30 independent, peer reviewed studies have reported a consistently high sensitivity and specificity of GSTP1 hypermethylation in prostatectomy or biopsy tissue. The meta-analysis combined and compared these results. CONCLUSIONS GSTP1 methylation detection can serve an important role in prostate cancer managment. The meta-analysis clearly confirmed a link between tissue DNA hypermethylation of this and other genes and prostate cancer. Detection of DNA methylation in genes, including GSTP1, could serve an important role in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1248-1261
Number of pages14
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012


  • APC
  • DNA methylation
  • GSTP1
  • PCA3
  • PSA
  • RARB
  • cancer
  • diagnosis
  • epigenetics
  • field effect
  • prognosis
  • prostate
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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