Background: Glutathione S-transferase 1 (GSTP1) inactivation is associated with CpG island promoter hypermethylation in the majority of prostate cancers (PCs). This study assessed whether the level of circulating methylated GSTP1 (mGSTP1) in plasma DNA is associated with chemotherapy response and overall survival (OS).
Methods: Plasma samples were collected prospectively from a Phase I exploratory cohort of 75 men with castrate-resistant PC (CRPC) and a Phase II independent validation cohort (n=51). mGSTP1 levels in free DNA were measured using a sensitive methylation-specific PCR assay.
Results: The Phase I cohort identified that detectable baseline mGSTP1 DNA was associated with poorer OS (HR, 4.2 95% CI 2.1-8.2; P<0.0001). A decrease in mGSTP1 DNA levels after cycle 1 was associated with a PSA response (P=0.008). In the Phase II cohort, baseline mGSTP1 DNA was a stronger predictor of OS than PSA change after 3 months (P=0.02). Undetectable plasma mGSTP1 after one cycle of chemotherapy was associated with PSA response (P=0.007).
Conclusions: We identified plasma mGSTP1 DNA as a potential prognostic marker in men with CRPC as well as a potential surrogate therapeutic efficacy marker for chemotherapy and corroborated these findings in an independent Phase II cohort. Prospective Phase III assessment of mGSTP1 levels in plasma DNA is now warranted.