EWS-ERG fusion transcript produced by chromosomal insertion in a Ewing sarcoma

Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 1997 Mar;18(3):228-31.


The EWS gene is fused in Ewing sarcoma-like tumors by a chromosomal translocation to one of the four ETS-family genes: FLI1, ERG, ETV1, and E1AF. The orientation of EWS and FLI1 on chromosomes 22 and 11, respectively, is 5' centromeric and 3' telomeric, whereas that of ERG on chromosome 21 is the reverse. Although 10% of Ewing-family tumors express the EWS-ERG fusion transcript, there have been no reports on tumors with t(21;22)(q22;q12) identified by banding cytogenetics. We found the karyotype 50, XY, +8, +8, +12, +mar in all metaphase cells from a tumor. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis performed on the tumor and direct sequencing of the products identified the EWS-ERG fusion transcript. Subsequent two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis with EWS and ERG clones showed the fused signals on the der(21) chromosome, but no ERG signals on the chromosome 22 homologs. Thus, our RT-PCR and FISH analyses indicated that the chromosome 22 fragment containing the 5' portion of EWS had been inverted and inserted into chromosome 21 and had fused to the 3' portion of ERG. This subtle chromosome aberration could not be identified by routine cytogenetics. A chromosomal inversion/insertion has also been described in acute leukemia with the MLL-AF10 fusion gene, and this may be a common pathway for producing fusion of reverse-oriented genes in leukemias and solid tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosome Inversion
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11 / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 22 / genetics*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • RNA-Binding Protein EWS
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Translocation, Genetic


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • RNA-Binding Protein EWS
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase