IL-6 overexpression in ERG-positive prostate cancer is mediated by prostaglandin receptor EP2

Constanze Merz, Anne Von Mässenhausen, Angela Queisser, Wenzel Vogel, Ove Andrén, Jutta Kirfel, Stefan Duensing, Sven Perner, Michael Nowak*

*Corresponding author for this work
10 Citations (Scopus)


Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men and multiple risk factors and genetic alterations have been described. The TMPRSS2-ERG fusion event and the overexpression of the transcription factor ERG are present in approximately 50% of all prostate cancer patients, however, the clinical outcome is still controversial. Prostate tumors produce various soluble factors, including the pleiotropic cytokine IL-6, regulating cellular processes such as proliferation and metastatic segregation. Here, we used prostatectomy samples in a tissue microarray format and analyzed the co-expression and the clinicopathologic data of ERG and IL-6 using immunohistochemical double staining and correlated the read-out with clinicopathologic data. Expression of ERG and IL-6 correlated strongly in prostate tissue samples. Forced expression of ERG in prostate tumor cell lines resulted in significantly increased secretion of IL-6, whereas the down-regulation of ERG decreased IL-6 secretion. By dissecting the underlying mechanism in prostate tumor cell lines we show the ERG-mediated up-regulation of the prostanoid receptors EP2 and EP3. The prostanoid receptor EP2 was overexpressed in human prostate cancer tissue. Furthermore, the proliferation rate and IL-6 secretion in DU145 cells was reduced after treatment with EP2-receptor antagonist. Collectively, our study shows that the expression of ERG in prostate cancer is linked to the expression of IL-6 mediated by the prostanoid receptor EP2.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)974-984
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2016


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