The Role of ERG Gene in Prostate Cancer



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The second most prevalent cancer among men with a 5-year survival rate of 30%, prostate cancer is a pressing issue, especially in the developed world. There were 1.28 million reported cases of prostate cancer in 2018 and it is infamous for quickly metastasizing to the bone and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer begins when normal epithelial cells become a prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). The PIN becomes a low-grade carcinoma, which with time becomes a high-grade carcinoma, eventually leading to metastasis. It has been observed that 50% of prostate cancer cells overexpressed the ERG gene due to a translocation fusion of TMPRSS2 and ERG. ERG is a putative proto-oncogene within the ETS transcription factor family and is not regularly expressed in healthy prostate cells. TMPRSS2 is an androgen hormone binding site, so when TMPRSS2 fusion with ERG causes ERG transcription initiation because of the androgen hormones binding to the TMPRSS2 receptors. The expression of ERG in the cell plays a role in tumorigenesis, but the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. To better understand the ERG gene and its relation to prostate cancer, I decided to do a literature review.