Somatic mitochondrial DNA mutations in prostate cancer and normal appearing adjacent glands in comparison to age-matched prostate samples without malignant histology

J Mol Diagn. 2006 Jul;8(3):312-9. doi: 10.2353/jmoldx.2006.050112.


Studies of somatic mitochondrial DNA mutations have become an important aspect of cancer research because these mutations might have functional significance and/or serve as a biosensor for tumor detection. Here we report somatic mitochondrial DNA mutations from three specific tissue types (tumor, adjacent benign, and distant benign) recovered from 24 prostatectomy samples. Needle biopsy tissue from 12 individuals referred for prostate biopsy, yet histologically benign (symptomatic benign), were used as among individual control samples. We also sampled blood (germplasm tissue) from each patient to serve as within individual controls relative to the somatic tissues sampled (malignant, adjacent, and distant benign). Complete mitochondrial genome sequencing was attempted on each sample. In contrast to both control groups [within patient (blood) and among patient (symptomatic benign)], all of the tissue types recovered from the malignant group harbored significantly different mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. We conclude that mitochondrial genome mutations are an early indicator of malignant transformation in prostate tissue. These mutations occur well before changes in tissue histo-pathology, indicative of prostate cancer, are evident to the pathologist.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Mitochondrial* / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Phylogeny
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial