Molecular characterization of TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion in the NCI-H660 prostate cancer cell line: a new perspective for an old model.


Recent studies have established that a significant fraction of prostate cancers harbor a signature gene fusion between the 5' region of androgen-regulated TMPRSS2 and an ETS family transcription factor, most commonly ERG. Studies on the molecular mechanisms and functional consequences of this important chromosomal rearrangement are currently limited to the VCaP cell line derived from a vertebral bone metastasis of a hormone-refractory prostate tumor. Here we report on the NCI-H660 cell line, derived from a metastatic site of an extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma arising from the prostate. NCI-H660 harbors TMPRSS2-ERG fusion with a homozygous intronic deletion between TMPRSS2 and ERG. We demonstrate this by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, a two-stage dual-color interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay testing for TMPRSS2 and ERG break-aparts, and single-nucleotide polymorphism oligonucleotide arrays. The deletion is consistent with the common intronic deletion found on chromosome 21q22.2-3 in human prostate cancer samples. We demonstrate the physical juxtaposition of TMPRSS2 and ERG on the DNA level by fiber FISH. The androgen receptor-negative NCI-H660 cell line expresses ERG in an androgen-independent fashion. This in vitro model system has the potential to provide important pathobiologic insights into TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancer.

  • Beroukhim R
  • Chinnaiyan AM
  • Demichelis F
  • Dhanasekaran SM
  • Laxman B
  • Lee C
  • Mertz KD
  • Perner S
  • Rubin MA
  • Setlur SR
  • Tchinda J
  • Tomlins S
  • Vessella RL
PubMed ID
Appears In
Neoplasia, 2007, 9 (3)