Early Detection Research Network

Quantitative RARbeta2 hypermethylation: a promising prostate cancer marker.

Retinoic acid receptor beta2 (RARbeta2) is a tumor suppressor gene frequently hypermethylated in several human neoplasms. To further characterize this epigenetic alteration in prostate cancer progression, we examined tumor tissue from 118 patients with prostate carcinoma (PCa), 38 paired high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasias (HGPIN), and non-neoplastic prostate tissue from 30 patients with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), using quantitative methylation-specific PCR. We found RARbeta2 hypermethylation in 97.5% of PCa, 94.7% of HGPIN, and 23.3% of BPH. Methylation levels were significantly higher in PCa compared with HGPIN and BPH (P < 0.00001). By establishing an empiric cutoff value, we were able to discriminate between neoplastic and non-neoplastic tissue, with 94.9% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Moreover, RARbeta2 methylation levels correlated with higher pathological stage (r = 0.30, P = 0.0009). This quantitative assay represents a novel and promising molecular marker that may augment current approaches for prostate cancer detection.

Fonseca D, Henrique R, Hoque MO, Jerónimo C, Lopes C, Oliveira J, Ribeiro FR, Sidransky D, Teixeira MR

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Clin. Cancer Res., 2004, 10 (12 Pt 1)