TMPRSS2-ERG fusion is frequently observed in Gleason pattern 3 prostate cancer in a Canadian cohort

Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Jan;8(2):125-30. doi: 10.4161/cbt.8.2.7134. Epub 2009 Feb 4.


Purpose: TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion was recently reported as the most common gene rearrangement in prostate cancer (PCA).

Results: In this cohort 41% of the patients showed positive gene fusion status in their PCA. The TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion status was homogenous within the same cancer focus and 82% of fusion positive PCA were present in GS 6 or 7 vs. 14% in GS 8 (p = 0.004). Moreover, TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was present in 42% of Gleason pattern 3 vs. 27% of Gleason pattern 4 (p = 0.014). However, in this study, no significant association was noticed between TMPRSS2-ERG fusion status in relation to pathological stage, surgical margin or biochemical failure.

Experimental design: Using break-apart FISH assay to indirectly assess the fusion of TMPRSS2-ERG. We sought to characterize the incidence, pathological features and clinical parameters of TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion in a cohort of 196 Canadian men treated by radical prostatectomy for localized PCA, and to investigate its potential as a biomarker in PCA.

Conclusion: The higher association of TMPRSS2-ERG with Gleason score 6 and 7 should be further investigated. If confirmed, this could have significant clinical impact in further stratifying patients with PCA should the TMPRSS2-ERG be confirmed as a prognostic biomarker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Regression Analysis
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Time Factors
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcriptional Regulator ERG
  • Treatment Outcome


  • ERG protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcriptional Regulator ERG
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • TMPRSS2 protein, human