TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancer: an early molecular event associated with invasion

Am J Surg Pathol. 2007 Jun;31(6):882-8. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000213424.38503.aa.


Prostate cancer (PCA) is one of the most prevalent cancers and a major leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world. The TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was recently identified as a common recurrent chromosomal aberration in this malignancy. In our study, we interrogated a broad spectrum of benign, precursor, and malignant prostatic lesions to assess the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion status using a multicolor interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization assay. Samples from hospital-based cohorts consisted of 237 clinically localized PCA, 34 hormone naive metastases, 9 hormone refractory metastases, 26 high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions, 15 samples of benign prostatic hyperplasia, 38 of proliferative inflammatory atrophy, and 47 of benign prostatic tissue. The TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was present in 48.5% of clinically localized PCA, 30% of hormone naive metastases, 33% of hormone refractory metastases, and in 19% of high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions in intermingling to cancer foci. Almost all these fusion positive cases show a homogenous distribution of the fusion pattern. In contrast, none of the other samples harbored this genetic aberration. If we consider the high incidence of PCA and the high frequency of this gene fusion, TMPRSS2-ERG is the most common genetic aberration so far described in human malignancies. Furthermore, its clinical application as a biomarker and ancillary diagnostic test is promising given its high specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • TMPRSS2-ERG fusion protein, human