Epigenetic DNA alterations such as promoter hypermethylation of glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) in prostatic adenocarcinoma frequently constitute tumour biomarkers. Neoplastic transformation was identified in washings of prostate biopsies by GSTP1 promoter hypermethylation, using methylation-specific PCR (MSP). Twenty-six patients undergoing sextant transrectal prostate biopsies for clinically suspected prostate cancer were enrolled. All ten patients diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (100%) and four of six patients with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (67%), but none of ten patients with benign hyperplasia (0%), exhibited GSTP1 promoter hypermethylation in at least one out of six biopsy washings. Since this approach is transferable to various cancer entities, a sensitive and specific DNA-based analysis of biopsy material seems generally feasible without impeding routine histopathological examination.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.