Chromosomal rearrangements that result in high expression levels of the ETS-related gene (ERG) present in approximately 50% of prostate cancer (PCa) patients, making this one of the most common oncogenic alterations in PCa. However, ERG overexpression at the protein level has not been rigorously evaluated in Japanese PCa patients. In this study, we evaluated ERG expression using antibody-based detection in 230 prostate specimens in a Japanese PCa cohort. Overall, we identified 20.1% ERG-positive PCa cases. ERG was not detected in benign glands. The specificity of ERG staining for detecting PCa was almost 100%; all of the ERG-positive samples were also diagnosed as PCa. The expression level of the ERG protein correlated with clinicopathological variables, including grade (P= 0.038), stage (P= 0.005), and metastatic status (P= 0.014). No correlation was observed with age (P= 0.196) or with preoperative prostate-specific antigen level (P= 0.322). Although the frequency of ERG-positive cases in Japanese PCa patients (20.1%) was lower than that reported in a PCa cohort in Western countries (approximately 50%), our study demonstrates that the clinical utility of ERG detection at the protein level can serve as an ancillary tool for diagnosing PCa in the Japanese population.
© 2011 The Authors. Pathology International © 2011 Japanese Society of Pathology and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.