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Diagnostic Role of Circulating Free Plasma DNA Detection in Patients With Localized Prostate Cancer

Annalisa Altimari PhD, Antonia D’Errico Grigioni MD, Elisa Benedettini MS, Elena Gabusi PhD, Riccardo Schiavina MD, Antonio Martinell MD, Antonio Maria Morselli-Labate EE, Giuseppe Martorana MD, Walter Franco Grigioni MD, Michelangelo Fiorentino MD, PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/DBPX1MFNDDJBW1FL 756-762 First published online: 1 May 2008


To analyze the potential diagnostic relevance of free plasma DNA (FPDNA), we enrolled 64 patients with localized prostate cancer (CaP). FPDNA was quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction assessment of the HTERT gene in blood samples from 64 patients with CaP and 45 healthy males. Methylation of the GSTP1 gene was used to confirm the neoplastic origin of FPDNA in selected cases.

The mean ± SD levels of FPDNA were higher in patients with CaP (15.4 ± 10.9 ng/mL) than in control subjects (5.5 ± 3.5 ng/mL; P < .001). By using the best cutoff value, the sensitivity of the test was 80%, the specificity was 82%, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.881. High FPDNA values were significantly associated with pathologic T3 stage (P = .035). Methylation of the GSTP1 gene was found in 4 (25%) of 16 FPDNA samples and 15 (94%) of 16 tissue samples.

Quantification of FPDNA discriminates between patients with CaP and healthy subjects and correlates with pathologic tumor stage. FPDNA is a candidate biomarker for early diagnosis and monitoring of CaP.

Key Words:
  • Prostate cancer
  • Free plasma DNA
  • DNA methylation
  • Blood tumor markers