Genome-wide linkage analysis of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion in familial prostate cancer

Matthias D. Hofer, Rainer Kuefer, Christiane Maier, Kathleen Herkommer, Sven Perner, Francesca Demichelis, Thomas Paiss, Walter Vogel, Mark A. Rubin, Josef Hoegel

22 Citations (Scopus)


Fusion of the 5′-untranslated region of androgen-regulated TMPRSS2 promoter with ETS transcription factor family members is found frequently in prostate cancers, and recent work suggests that the most common TMPRSS2-ERG fusion is associated with an aggressive clinical phenotype compared with fusion-negative prostate cancer. Thus far, analysis of the fusion has been limited to sporadic cases of prostate cancer. In the current study, we explore for an enrichment of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion in familial prostate cancer. TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was identified using a break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization assay on tissue microarrays. Presence of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was associated with higher Gleason scores (P = 0.027). Of 75 patients with established history of prostate cancer, we detected the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion in 44 (59%) patients. Almost three quarters (73%) of fusion-positive patients accumulated within 16 specific families whereas only 27% were single fusion-positive cases within one family. Based on reported prevalence rates, we calculated a sibling recurrence risk ratio of up to 18.9. A subset (63%) of families with uniformly TMPRSS2-ERG-positive prostate cancer underwent a genome-wide linkage scan at 500 markers. This revealed several loci located on chromosomes #9, #18, and X that were suggestive of linkage to the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive prostate cancer phenotype with linkage-of-disease scores up to 2.16 and nonparametric linkage scores up to 2.77. This suggests the presence of an inherited susceptibility to developing the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion. Given the association of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion and aggressive prostate cancer, close surveillance of relatives of patients with established fusion-positive prostate cancer or a family history of prostate cancer in general would be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)640-646
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 15.01.2009


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