Open Access Research article

Impact of hormonal therapy on the detection of promoter hypermethylation of the detoxifying glutathione-S-transferase P1 gene (GSTP1) in prostate cancer

Jens Kollermann12, Carsten Kempkensteffen1, Burkhard Helpap3, Mark Schrader1, Hans Krause1, Markus Muller4, Kurt Miller1 and Martin Schostak1*

Author Affiliations

1 Urologische Klinik, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany

2 Institut für Pathologie, Universitätsklinikum Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

3 Institut für Pathologie, Hegau-Bodensee-Hochrhein Klinikum, Singen, Germany

4 Urologische Klinik, Klinikum Ludwigshafen, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Urology 2006, 6:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-6-15

Published: 27 June 2006



In spite of excellent cure rates for prostate cancer patients with favorable tumor characteristics, patients with unfavorable characteristics after radical prostatectomy are still at a significantly increased risk of tumor progression. Early adjuvant hormonal therapy (AHT) has been shown to be of prognostic benefit in these patients. Unfortunately initiation and duration of early AHT in the individual patient is based on statistic data. PSA, as the standard prostate marker is neither able to reliably indicate minimal residual tumor disease in the early postoperative phase, nor can it be used for therapy monitoring due to the suppressive effect of hormonal therapy on PSA production. Promoter hypermethylation of the detoxifying glutathione-S-transferase P1 gene (GSTP1-HM) has been shown to be the most common DNA alteration of primary prostatic carcinoma which, when used as a marker, is supposed to be able to overcome some of the disadvantages of PSA. However until now information on the impact of hormonal therapy on the detection of GSTP1-HM is lacking. The purpose of our study was to assess the impact of endocrine therapy on the detection of GSTP1-HM by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) in prostate cancer.


Paraffin embedded tumor samples from the radical prostatectomy (RP) specimens from 15 patients after hormonal therapy (HT) (mean 8 months) were assessed by MSP. In 8 of the patients the GSTP-1 status of the tumors before HT was assessed on the corresponding initial diagnostic biopsies.


Following HT MSP showed GSTP1-HM in 13/15 of the RP specimens. In two patients analysis of the RP specimens failed to show GSTP1-HM. All initial tumor samples (8/8 biopsy specimens) showed GSTP1-HM, including both patients negative for GSTP1 HM in the corresponding RP specimen.


In most cases hormonal therapy appears to not alter GSTP1 HM detection. However the change from a positive to a negative GSTP1 HM status in a subset of the patients may point to an, at least partial androgen dependency. Further studies on a larger cohort of patients are necessary to assess its frequency and the exact hormonal interactions.