Methylation-specific PCR for detection of neoplastic DNA in biopsy washings

J Pathol. 2002 Mar;196(3):331-4. doi: 10.1002/path.1063.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Isoenzymes
  • GSTP1 protein, human
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione Transferase