Prostatic carcinoma is characterised by the silencing of the pi-class glutathione S-transferase gene (GSTP1), which encodes a detoxifying enzyme. The silencing of GSTP1 results from aberrant methylation at the CpG island in the promoter-5' and occurs in the vast majority of cases of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and prostate cancers. We review the potential novel role of GSTP1 and its related expression in prostate cancer. The loss of expression (silencing) of the GSTP1 gene is the most common (>90%) genetic alteration reported to date in prostate cancer. Quantitative methylation-specific PCR assays allow detection of GSTP1 methylation in prostate biopsies and may improve the sensitivity of cancer detection. Advances in the epigenetic characterisation of prostate cancer have enabled the development of DNA methylation assays that may soon be used in diagnostic testing of serum and tissue for prostate cancer. Inhibition of aberrant promoter methylation could theoretically prevent carcinogenesis.