Glutathione-S-Transferases (GSTs) comprise a family of isoenzymes that provide protection to mammalian cells against electrophilic metabolites of carcinogens and reactive oxygen species. Previous studies have shown that the CpG-rich promoter region of the pi-class gene GSTP1 is methylated at single restriction sites in the majority of prostate cancers. In order to understand the nature of abnormal methylation of the GSTP1 gene in prostate cancer we undertook a detailed analysis of methylation at 131 CpG sites spanning the promoter and body of the gene. Our results show that DNA methylation is not confined to specific CpG sites in the promoter region of the GSTP1 gene but is extensive throughout the CpG island in prostate cancer cells. Furthermore we found that both alleles are abnormally methylated in this region. In normal prostate tissue, the entire CpG island was unmethylated, but extensive methylation was found outside the island in the body of the gene. Loss of GSTP1 expression correlated with DNA methylation of the CpG island in both prostate cancer cell lines and cancer tissues whereas methylation outside the CpG island in normal prostate tissue appeared to have no effect on gene expression.