Prof. Bollen (2007)

Project details

Project start: 
Prostate Cancer
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)


Improved diagnosis & prognosis of prostate cancer.


Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Many prostate tumors are slow-growing and clinically irrelevant, resulting in overdiagnosis and overtreatment of the disease.

Therefore there is an unmet need for a reliable and specific biomarker to predict disease progression and to discriminate between treatment options.

Scientific project description

PCR-based assay "M3 test" to detect reliably and quantitatively the DNA methylation status of a number of genes linked to prostate cancer. The assay concerns a combination of both diagnostic and prognostic markers, as well as hyper- and hypo methylated genes. 

Key findings

1. Differential methylation of gene GSTP1 allows the stratification of high-risk prostate cancer patients into three molecular episubtypes, i.e. low, moderate and high DNA methylation level groups, and emerges as an independent predictor of clinical failure. Unexpectedly, patients with either low or high methylation, show a higher risk for clinical failure than the group of patients with an intermediate methylation level.

2. A cross-validated two-gene methylation model (PITX2 plus HOXD3) is an independent significant predictor for biochemical recurrence in the context of known prognostic clinical variables.


  • IP secured
  • 2 Abstracts have been selected as poster presentation for the 2013 Marker in Cancer meeting (Belgium) and the 2014 Genitourinary Cancer Symposium (US)
  • 1 manuscript under review and 1 manuscript in preparation
  • FFM funding ended, but a prospective study in biopsies of high-risk prostate cancer patients is currently started (funded by the Nat Cancer Plan)


Final grant: €352.029

Qualification & Verification
Platform selection & Clinical Assay
Prof. Bollen (2007)
Prostate Cancer