Purpose: Deletions or mutations in PTEN and TP53 tumor suppressor genes have been linked to lineage plasticity in therapy-resistant prostate cancer. Fusion-driven overexpression of the oncogenic transcription factor ERG is observed in approximately 50% of all prostate cancers, many of which also harbor PTEN and TP53 alterations. However, the role of ERG in lineage plasticity of PTEN/TP53–altered tumors is unclear. Understanding the collective effect of multiple mutations within one tumor is essential to combat plasticity-driven therapy resistance. Experimental Design: We generated a Pten-negative/Trp53-mutated/ERG-overexpressing mouse model of prostate cancer and integrated RNA-sequencing with ERG chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-seq) to identify pathways regulated by ERG in the context of Pten/Trp53 alteration. We investigated ERG-dependent sensitivity to the antiandrogen enzalutamide and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) inhibitor palbociclib in human prostate cancer cell lines, xenografts, and allografted mouse tumors. Trends were evaluated in TCGA, SU2C, and Beltran 2016 published patient cohorts and a human tissue microarray. Results: Transgenic ERG expression in mice blocked Pten/ Trp53 alteration–induced decrease of AR expression and downstream luminal epithelial genes. ERG directly suppressed expression of cell cycle–related genes, which induced RB hypophosphorylation and repressed E2F1-mediated expression of mesenchymal lineage regulators, thereby restricting adenocarcinoma plasticity and maintaining antiandrogen sensitivity. In ERG-negative tumors, CDK4/6 inhibition delayed tumor growth. Conclusions: Our studies identify a previously undefined function of ERG to restrict lineage plasticity and maintain antiandrogen sensitivity in PTEN/TP53–altered prostate cancer. Our findings suggest ERG fusion as a biomarker to guide treatment of PTEN/TP53-altered, RB1-intact prostate cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research