Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 142, Issue 8, pp 1781–1793 | Cite as

ERG expression in prostate cancer: biological relevance and clinical implication

  • Hatem Abou-Ouf
  • Liena Zhao
  • Tarek A. BismarEmail author
Review – Clinical Oncology



Screening for increased levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has allowed early detection of a large majority of prostate cancer (PCa) cases. However, the relative lack of specificity of PSA has resulted in significant over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment for indolent tumors. The fusion of the transmembrane protease serine 2 with E26 transformation-specific family genes, particularly ERG, is the most widespread genetic alteration in prostate cancer, and data suggest that it is more specific for neoplastic prostate disease and may be of added prognostic value and point toward molecular subtype of PCa.


In this review, retrospective studies and clinical trials were analyzed to highlight the recent advances in our understanding of the cellular consequence of ERG rearrangement, describe its interactions with other genetic and molecular pathways, and discuss its potential diagnostic and prognostic value.


ERG over-expression has an emerging role in the diagnosis of PCa pathology, although there is still debate about its prognostic value. Elucidation of the mechanisms of ERG gene rearrangements and expression promises novel therapeutic and diagnostic avenues for prostate cancer.


ERG Prostate cancer Clinical implication Prognosis Diagnosis Gene signatures 



LZ and TAB drafted the manuscript. TAB supervised and oversight the manuscript outline.


This work was supported in part by the Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award (T.A.B). This work was also supported by Prostate cancer Canada and is proudly funded by the Movember Foundation, Grant #B2013-01.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare in this study.

Ethical approval

NA (review article).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hatem Abou-Ouf
    • 1
    • 3
  • Liena Zhao
    • 1
  • Tarek A. Bismar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Calgary and Calgary Laboratory ServicesCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Oncology, Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute and Tom Baker Cancer CenterCalgaryCanada

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