Has DNA methylation any impact in prostate cancer diagnosis?

  • Buket Kosova
  • Rukiye Özel
  • Çağdaş Aktan

Bull Urooncol 2011;10(2):33-40

Aim of this review:

Today cancer is defined as a complex disease that is caused by various genetic and epigenetic alterations resulting both in oncogene activation and tumor suppressor gene inactivation. Among the genetic alterations leading to cancer, mutations have been investigated for many years. However, DNA methylation, an epigenetic alteration, has attracted a growing attention in cancer investigations for the last 20 years.

New findings:

The unique importance of DNA methylation in cancer research is that it can be specifically detected in various body fluids to diagnose cancer at its early stages. Moreover, unlike mutations, DNA methylation can be prevented and/or reversed by some agents. Prostate cancer which is the most frequently observed cancer type in men has a high mortality rate; but, its diagnosis is still largely dependent on the determination of prostate specific antigen in blood followed by a physical detection known as digital rectal examination. In addition to these methods, detection of DNA methylation as in the case of glutathione S-transferase pi 1 gene in serum, plasma or urine of suspected patients can routinely be performed due to its fast administration protocols and because it is less invasive as opposed to biopsy.


Owing to recent technological improvements in rapid DNA methylation detection methods, this procedure has also become routinely applicable in many laboratories. In this review, we will discuss all the exciting progressions in this DNA methylation field along with some up-to-date data on prostate cancer.

Keywords: prostate cancer, cancer diagnosis, dna methylation, histone deacetylation, epigenetics