Since the identification of the TMPRSS2-ERG rearrangement as the most common fusion event in prostate cancer, various methods have been developed to detect this rearrangement and to study its prognostic significance. We report a novel four-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay that detects not only the typical TMPRSS2-ERG fusion but also alternative rearrangements of the TMPRSS2 or ERG gene. We validated this assay on fresh, frozen, or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded prostate cancer specimens, including cell lines, primary prostate cancer tissues, xenograft tissues derived from metastatic prostate cancer, and metastatic tissues from castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients. When compared with either reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or the Gen-Probe method as the technical reference, analysis using the four-color FISH assay demonstrated an analytical sensitivity of 94.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.80-0.99) and specificity of 100% (95% CI 0.89-1.00) for detecting the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion. The TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was detected in 41% and 43% of primary prostate cancer (n = 59) and CRPC tumors (n = 82), respectively. Rearrangements other than the typical TMPRSS2-ERG fusion were confirmed by karyotype analysis and found in 7% of primary cancer and 13% of CRPC tumors. Successful karyotype analyses are reported for the first time on four of the xenograft samples, complementing the FISH results. Analysis using the four-color FISH assay provides sensitive detection of TMPRSS2 and ERG gene rearrangements in prostate cancer.
TMPRSS2/ERG rearrangement, PTEN gene deletion, and androgen receptor (AR) gene amplification have been observed in various stages of human prostate cancer. We hypothesized that using these markers as a combined panel would allow better differentiation between low-risk and high-risk prostate cancer. We analyzed 110 primary prostate cancer samples, 70 metastatic tumor samples from 11 patients, and 27 xenograft tissues derived from 22 advanced prostate cancer patients using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis with probes targeting the TMPRSS2/ERG, PTEN, and AR gene loci. Heterogeneity of the aberrations detected was evaluated. Genetic patterns were also correlated with transcript levels. Among samples with complete data available, the three-marker FISH panel detected chromosomal abnormalities in 53% of primary prostate cancers and 87% of metastatic (Met) or castration-resistant (CRPC) tumors. The number of markers with abnormal FISH result had a different distribution between the two groups (P<0.001). At the patient level, Met/CRPC tumors are 4.5 times more likely to show abnormalities than primary cancer patients (P<0.05). Heterogeneity among Met/CRPC tumors is mostly inter-patient. Intra-patient heterogeneity is primarily due to differences between the primary prostate tumor and the metastases while multiple metastatic sites show consistent abnormalities. Intra-tumor variability is most prominent with the AR copy number in primary tumors. AR copy number correlated well with the AR mRNA expression (rho?=?0.52, P<0.001). Especially among TMPRSS2:ERG fusion-positive CRPC tumors, AR mRNA and ERG mRNA levels are strongly correlated (rho?=?0.64, P<0.001). Overall, the three-marker FISH panel may represent a useful tool for risk stratification of prostate cancer patients.
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