Date: 03 Feb 2012

DNA Methylation Changes in Prostate Cancer

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Abstract

Epigenetic alterations contribute significantly to the development and progression of prostate cancer, the most prevalent malignant tumor in males of Western industrialized countries. Here, we review recent research on DNA methylation alterations in this cancer type. Hypermethylation of several genes including GSTP1 is well known to occur in a consistent and apparently coordinate fashion during the transition from intraepithelial neoplasia to frank carcinoma. These hypermethylation events have shown promise as biomarkers for detection of prostate carcinoma. Many other individual genes have been shown to undergo hypermethylation, which is typically associated with diminished expression. These investigations indicate additional candidates for biomarkers; in particular, hypermethylation events associated with progression can be employed to identify more aggressive cases. In addition, some of genes silenced by aberrant methylation in prostate have been shown to exhibit properties of tumor suppressors, revealing insights into mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Whereas most studies in the past have used candidate gene approaches, new techniques allowing genome-wide screening for altered methylation are increasingly employed in prostate cancer research and have already yielded encouraging results.