Recent Updates on Epigenetic Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer

  • Karen Chiam
  • Tanya Kate Day
  • Tina Bianco-MiottoEmail author


Epigenetics refers to DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNAs and these epigenetic modifications are extensively investigated as potential biomarkers for cancer. Characterizing genome wide epigenetic changes involved in prostate cancer development and progression will not only identify potential novel therapeutic targets, since some epigenetic modifications are reversible, but also highlight which epigenetic changes can be used as prostate cancer biomarkers. Epigenetic changes are relatively stable and easy to measure in peripheral samples like blood and urine, further highlighting their importance as powerful tools for assessing patient diagnosis and prognosis. In this review, we outline how epigenetic biomarkers have been used for diagnosis, prognosis and for monitoring therapeutic response in prostate cancer. We also review how epigenetic biomarkers may be more sensitive and specific than current prostate cancer serum markers and the possibility that combining different epigenetic modifications may further enhance the diagnostic and prognostic ability of these epigenetic biomarkers. As epigenome wide studies continue to be performed in larger patient cohorts, we will soon identify the epigenetic modifications involved in prostate tumorigenesis with the resultant identification of new therapeutic targets and robust prostate cancer biomarkers.


DNA methylation Histone modifications MicroRNA Diagnostic biomarkers Prostate cancer 



 This work was supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (627185; TBM), Cancer Council of South Australia/SAHMRI Beat Cancer Project (APP1030945; TBM), the U.S. Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Training Fellowship (TKD; PC080400), W. Bruce Hall Cancer Council of SA Research Fellowship (TBM), and The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (TKD; YIG03).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Chiam
    • 1
  • Tanya Kate Day
    • 2
  • Tina Bianco-Miotto
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Cancer Research ProgramGarvan Institute of Medical Research and The Kinghorn Cancer CenterSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories and Adelaide Prostate Cancer Research Centre, Discipline of MedicineThe University of Adelaide and Hanson InstituteAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.The Robinson Institute, Research Centre for Reproductive Health & Early Origins of Health and Disease, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive HealthThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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