TMPRSS2:ERG gene fusion associated with lethal prostate cancer in a watchful waiting cohort

Oncogene. 2007 Jul 5;26(31):4596-9. Published: 2007.07.04

F Demichelis, K Fall, S Perner, O Andre4n, F Schmidt, SR Setlur, Y Hoshida, J-M Mosquera, Y Pawitan, C Lee, H-O Adami, LA Mucci, PW Kantoff, S-O Andersson, AM Chinnaiyan, J-E Johansson, MA Rubin

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The identification of the TMPRSS2:ERG fusion in prostate cancer suggests that distinct molecular subtypes may define risk for disease progression. In surgical series, TMPRSS2:ERG fusion was identified in 50% of the tumors. Here, we report on a population-based cohort of men with localized prostate cancers followed by expectant (watchful waiting) therapy with 15% (17/111) TMPRSS2:ERG fusion. We identified a statistically significant association between TMPRSS2:ERG fusion and prostate cancer specific death (cumulative incidence ratio=2.7, P<0.01, 95% confidence interval=1.3-5.8). Quantitative reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction demonstrated high ets-related [corrected] gene (ERG) expression to be associated with TMPRSS2:ERG fusion (P<0.005). These data suggest that TMPRSS2:ERG fusion prostate cancers may have a more aggressive phenotype, possibly mediated through increased ERG expression.

Keywords: ERG Prostate cancer TMPRSS2:ETS cancer-specific death prognosis