ERG oncoprotein expression in prostate carcinoma patients of different ethnicities.


Overexpression of the erythroblast transformation-specific-related gene (ERG) oncoprotein due to transmembrane protease, serine 2 (<i>TMPRSS2</i>)<i>-ERG</i> fusion, the most prevalent genomic alteration in prostate cancer (CaP), is more frequently observed among Caucasian patients compared to patients of African or Asian descent. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the prevalence of <i>ERG</i> alterations in a multiethnic cohort of CaP patients. A total of 191 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections of transrectal ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy specimens, collected from 120 patients treated at the Sime Darby Medical Centre, Subang Jaya, Malaysia, were analyzed for ERG protein expression by immunohistochemistry using the anti-ERG monoclonal antibody 9FY as a surrogate for the detection of <i>ERG</i> fusion events. The overall frequency of ERG protein expression in the population evaluated in this study was 39.2%. Although seemingly similar to rates reported in other Asian communities, the expression of ERG was distinct amongst different ethnic groups (P=0.004). Malaysian Indian (MI) patients exhibited exceedingly high expression of ERG in their tumors, almost doubling that of Malaysian Chinese (MC) patients, whereas ERG expression was very low amongst Malay patients (12.5%). When collectively analyzing data, we observed a significant correlation between younger patients and higher ERG expression (P=0.04). The prevalence of ERG expression was significantly different amongst CaP patients of different ethnicities. The higher number of ERG-expressing tumors among MI patients suggested that the <i>TMPRSS2-ERG</i> fusion may be particularly important in the pathogenesis of CaP amongst this group of patients. Furthermore, the more frequent expression of ERG among the younger patients analyzed suggested an involvement of ERG in the early onset of CaP. The results of this study underline the value of using ERG status to better understand the differences in the etiology of CaP initiation and progression between ethnic groups.

  • Cheong SC
  • Dobi A
  • Kelly GM
  • Kong YH
  • Pathmanathan R
  • Sesterhenn IA
  • Srivastava S
  • Tan HM
  • Tan SH
PubMed ID
Appears In
Mol Clin Oncol, 2015, 3 (1)