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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Jan 19;97(2):103-15.

Epigenetic changes in prostate cancer: implication for diagnosis and treatment.

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Department of Urology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and University of California San Francisco, 94121, USA.


Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. DNA methylation and histone modifications are important epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation and play essential roles both independently and cooperatively in tumor initiation and progression. Aberrant epigenetic events such as DNA hypo- and hypermethylation and altered histone acetylation have both been observed in prostate cancer, in which they affect a large number of genes. Although the list of aberrantly epigenetically regulated genes continues to grow, only a few genes have, so far, given promising results as potential tumor biomarkers for early diagnosis and risk assessment of prostate cancer. Thus, large-scale screening of aberrant epigenetic events such as DNA hypermethylation is needed to identify prostate cancer-specific epigenetic fingerprints. The reversibility of epigenetic aberrations has made them attractive targets for cancer treatment with modulators that demethylate DNA and inhibit histone deacetylases, leading to reactivation of silenced genes. More studies into the mechanism and consequence of demethylation are required before the cancer epigenome can be safely manipulated with therapeutics as a treatment modality. In this review, we examine the current literature on epigenetic changes in prostate cancer and discuss the clinical potential of cancer epigenetics for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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