TMPRSS2-ERG fusion, a common genomic alteration in prostate cancer activates C-MYC and abrogates prostate epithelial differentiation

Oncogene. 2008 Sep 11;27(40):5348-53. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.183. Epub 2008 Jun 9.


The high prevalence of TMPRSS2-ERG rearrangements ( approximately 60%) in prostate cancer (CaP) leads to androgenic induction of the ETS-related gene (ERG) expression. However, the biological functions of ERG overexpression in CaP remain to be understood. ERG knockdown in TMPRSS2-ERG expressing CaP cells induced striking morphological changes and inhibited cell growth both in cell culture and SCID mice. Evaluation of the transcriptome and specific gene promoters in ERG siRNA-treated cells and investigation of gene expression signatures of human prostate tumors revealed ERG-mediated activation of C-MYC oncogene and the repression of prostate epithelial differentiation genes (PSA and SLC45A3/Prostein). Taken together, these data combining cell culture and animal models and human prostate tumors reveal that ERG overexpression in prostate tumor cells may contribute to the neoplastic process by activating C-MYC and by abrogating prostate epithelial differentiation as indicated by prostate epithelial specific markers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / genetics
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MYC protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Slc45A3-ETV5 fusion protein, human
  • TMPRSS2-ERG fusion protein, human
  • prostein
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen