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Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2011;4(7):644-650

Original Article
The oncogenic gene fusion TMPRSS2:ERG is not a diagnostic or prognostic marker for
ovarian cancer

Lillian Huang, Isaiah G. Schauer, Jing Zhang, Imelda Mercado-Uribe, Jiaoti Huang, Jinsong Liu

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX, 77030, USA;
Department of Pathology, University of California, Los Angeles, 10833 LeConte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA.

Received August 17, 2011; accepted August 25, 2011; Epub September 15, 2011; published October 31, 2011

Abstract: TMPRSS2:ERG is a gene fusion resulting from the chromosomal rearrangement of the androgen-regulated TMPRSS2 gene and the
ETS transcription factor ERG, leading to the over-expression of the oncogenic molecule ERG. This gene rearrangement has been found in
approximately half of all prostate cancers and ERG overexpression is considered as a novel diagnostic marker for prostate carcinoma.  
However, little is known about the role of the TMPRSS2:ERG gene fusion in ovarian cancer.  The purpose of this study was to test ERG
expression in ovarian cancer and its potential as a diagnostic marker for ovarian carcinoma progression.   A tissue microarray containing 180
ovarian cancer tissues of various pathological types and grades were examined by immunohistochemical analysis for expression of ERG.  We
also used 40 prostate carcinoma tissues and 40 normal tissues for comparison in parallel experiments.  ERG-positive expression was
detected in 40% of the prostate tumor cancer and was also observed in the endothelial cells.  However, all of the ovarian tumor tissues of
varying histologic types were ERG-negative, although some endothelial cells in the ovarian cancer tissues were stained positive for ERG.  
These results confirm the over-expression of ERG in prostate cancer, and suggest that the oncogenic gene fusion TMPRSS2:ERG is unlikely to
occur in ovarian cancer.  Thus, ERG expression is not a useful diagnostic or prognostic marker for ovarian carcinoma. (IJCEP11080016).

Keywords: Ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, immunohistochemistry, ERG, androgens, TMPRSS2:ERG

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Address all correspondence to:
Jinsong Liu, MD, PhD
Box 85, Department of Pathology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Houston, TX, 77030-4095
Email: jliu@mdanderson.org