Expression of CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is linked to poor prognosis in prostate cancer

Mol Oncol. 2020 Jan;14(1):129-138. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12597. Epub 2019 Nov 29.


The chromatin-organizing factor CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is involved in transcriptional regulation, DNA-loop formation, and telomere maintenance. To evaluate the clinical impact of CTCF in prostate cancer, we analyzed CTCF expression by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray containing 17 747 prostate cancers. Normal prostate tissue showed negative to low CTCF expression, while in prostate cancers, CTCF expression was seen in 7726 of our 12 555 (61.5%) tumors and was considered low in 44.6% and high in 17% of cancers. Particularly, high CTCF expression was significantly associated with the presence of the transmembrane protease, serine 2:ETS-related gene fusion: Only 10% of ERG-negative cancers, but 30% of ERG-positive cancers had high-level CTCF expression (P < 0.0001). CTCF expression was significantly associated with advanced pathological tumor stage, high Gleason grade (P < 0.0001 each), nodal metastasis (P = 0.0122), and early biochemical recurrence (P < 0.0001). Multivariable modeling revealed that the prognostic impact of CTCF was independent from established presurgical parameters such as clinical stage and Gleason grade of the biopsy. Comparison with key molecular alterations showed strong associations with the expression of the Ki-67 proliferation marker and presence of phosphatase and tensin homolog deletions (P < 0.0001 each). The results of our study identify CTCF expression as a candidate biomarker for prognosis assessment in prostate cancer.

Keywords: CTCF; TMA; deletion; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / genetics
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / metabolism*
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Transcriptional Regulator ERG / genetics
  • Transcriptional Regulator ERG / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, human
  • ERG protein, human
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • MKI67 protein, human
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Transcriptional Regulator ERG
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • TMPRSS2 protein, human