Aberrant CpG island hypermethylation of multiple genes in prostate cancer and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia

J Pathol. 2004 Feb;202(2):233-40. doi: 10.1002/path.1503.


To date, several reports have been published about CpG island methylation of various genes in prostate cancer. However, most of these studies have focused on cancer tissue only or a single gene and data about concurrent methylation of multiple genes in prostate cancer or prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) are limited. The aim of the present study was to determine the methylation profile of 11 tumour-related genes in prostate cancer and PIN. Seventy-one samples, including 37 prostate cancers, 14 PINs, and 20 normal prostates, were examined for the methylation status of 11 tumour-related genes using methylation-specific PCR. The mean number of genes methylated was significantly higher in prostate cancer and PIN than in non-neoplastic prostate (4.4, 3, and 0.2, respectively; p < 0.001). In prostate cancer, APC, GSTP1, MGMT, and RASSF1A were frequently methylated at a frequency of 56.8%, 86.5%, 75.7%, and 83.8%, respectively. These genes were methylated in more than 30% of PINs. Prostate cancers with high serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (more than 8 ng/ml) or a high Gleason score (GS) (3 + 4 or more) showed higher numbers of methylated genes than those with low serum PSA (8 or less) or low GS (3 + 3 or less) (5.4 versus 2.5 and 5.4 versus 3.1, respectively; p < 0.05). The methylation frequency of APC, RASSF1A, and RUNX3 was higher in prostate cancers with high serum PSA or with high GS than in those with low PSA or with low GS, respectively, the differences reaching statistical significance (p < 0.05). A strong association between MGMT methylation and loss of MGMT expression was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. CpG island methylation is a frequent event, occurs early, and accumulates during multi-step prostatic carcinogenesis. High levels of CpG island hypermethylation might serve as a potential biological marker for aggressive prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • CpG Islands / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / genetics*
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen