Prostate Cancer Fusion Details May Inform Progression Risk

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A new study suggests taking a closer look at a relatively common gene fusion in prostate cancer tumors may help in distinguishing low-risk cases from more aggressive forms of the disease.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic used whole-genome mate-pair sequencing to characterize TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusions in 133 tumor samples from individuals with prostate cancer classified as very low-, low-, intermediate- or high-risk based on Gleason scores. As they reported online today in Cancer Research, nearly half of the tumors contained fusions involving the chromosome 21 genes TMPRSS2 and ERG.

Consistent with past reports, “the presence or absence of a TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion was not predictive of outcome,” senior author John Cheville, a biomarker discovery, laboratory medicine, and pathology researcher at the Mayo Clinic, said in a statement. But, he added, results from the latest analysis suggest the nature of the fusion and the way it formed did appear to have some ties to prostate cancer outcomes.

The TMPRSS2-ERG fusions did appear to be less common in the tumors deemed high-risk for progression, the team noted. But prostate cancer progression also tended to differ with the presence or absence of the genes falling between TMPRSS2 and ERG

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