Increased mediator complex subunit CDK19 expression associates with aggressive prostate cancer

Finn Becker, Vincent Joerg, Marie C. Hupe, Doris Roth, Rosemarie Krupar, Verena Lubczyk, Rainer Kuefer, Verena Sailer, Stefan Duensing, Jutta Kirfel, Axel S. Merseburger, Johannes Brägelmann, Sven Perner*, Anne Offermann

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


The Mediator complex is a transcriptional regulator interacting with transcription factors and RNA-polymerase-II. Recently, we identified its subunit CDK19 to be specifically expressed in prostate cancer (PCa) and to be functionally implicated in PCa aggressiveness. Aim of our study was to comprehensively characterize the protein expression of CDK19 and its paralog CDK8 in PCa. We performed immunohistochemistry (IHC) for CDK19/CDK8 on a large cohort including needle biopsies from 202 patients, 799 primary tumor foci of radical prostatectomy specimens from 415 patients, 120 locally advanced tumor foci obtained by palliative transurethral resection, 140 lymph node metastases, 67 distant metastases and 82 benigns. Primary tumors were stained for the proliferation marker Ki67, androgen receptor (AR) and ERG. For 376 patients, clinic–pathologic data were available. Primary endpoint was disease-recurrence-free survival (DFS). Nuclear CDK19 and CDK8 expression increases during progression showing the highest intensity in metastatic and castration-resistant tumors. High CDK19 expression on primary tumors correlates with DFS independently from Gleason grade and PSA. Five-year-DFS rates of patients with primary tumors expressing no, moderate and high CDK19 are 73.7, 56.9 and 30.4%, respectively. CDK19 correlates with Gleason grade, T-stage, Ki67 proliferation-index, nuclear AR expression and ERG-status. Therapeutic options for metastatic and castration-resistant PCa remain limited. In the current study, we confirmed an important role of the Mediator subunit CDK19 in advanced PCa supporting current developments to target CDK19 and its paralog CDK8. Furthermore, CDK19 protein expression has the potential to predict disease recurrence independently from established biomarkers thus contributing to individual management for PCa patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)577-588
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 15.01.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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