Career Development Award from Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Prostate Cancer SPORE
Idea Development Awards from the Department of Defense
ARTICLE ABSTRACTTMPRSS2–ERG gene fusions that occur frequently in human prostate cancers can be generated either through insertional chromosomal rearrangement or by intrachromosomal deletion. Genetically, a key difference between these two mechanisms is that the latter results in deletion of a ∼3-Mb interstitial region containing genes with unexplored roles in prostate cancer. In this study, we characterized two mouse models recapitulating TMPRSS2–ERG insertion or deletion events in the background of prostate-specific PTEN deficiency. We found that only the mice that lacked the interstitial region developed prostate adenocarcinomas marked by poor differentiation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Mechanistic investigations identified several interstitial genes, including Ets2 and Bace2, whose reduced expression correlated in the gene homologs in human prostate cancer with biochemical relapse and lethal disease. Accordingly, PTEN-deficient mice with prostate-specific knockout of Ets2 exhibited marked progression of prostate adenocarcinomas that was partly attributed to activation of MAPK signaling. Collectively, our findings established that Ets2 is a tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer, and its loss along with other genes within the TMPRSS2–ERG interstitial region contributes to disease progression. Cancer Res; 76(7); 1869–81. ©2016 AACR.