The emergence of DNA methylation as a key modulator of aberrant cell death in prostate cancer

T M Murphy, A S Perry, Mark Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


It is now well established that cancer cells exhibit a number of genetic defects in the machinery that governs programmed cell death and that sabotage of apoptosis is one of the principal factors aiding in the evolution of the carcinogenic phenotype. A number of studies have implicated aberrant DNA methylation as a key survival mechanism in cancer, whereby promoter hypermethylation silences genes essential for many processes including apoptosis. To date, studies on the methylation profile of apoptotic genes have largely focused on cancers of the breast, colon and stomach, with only limited data available on prostate cancer. Here we discuss the major developments in the field of DNA methylation and its role in the regulation of aberrant apoptosis in prostate cancer. The most significant advances have involved the discovery of apoptotic gene targets of methylation, including XAF1, (fragile histidine triad (FHIT ), cellular retinol binding protein 1 (CRBP1), decoy receptor 1(DCR1), decoy receptor 2 (DCR2 ), target of methylation-induced silenceing 1 (TMS1), TNF receptor superfamily, member 6 (FAS), Reprimo (RPRM) and GLI pathogenesis-related 1 (GLIPR1). These genes are reported to be hypermethylated in prostate cancer and some offer potential as diagnostic and prognostic markers. We also introduce the concept of an 'apoptotic methylation signature' for prostate cancer and evaluate its potential in a diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-25
Number of pages15
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • DNA Methylation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms


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