Review Article

PCA3 and TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusions as diagnostic biomarkers for prostate cancer

Zheng Yang, Lu Yu, Zhe Wang


The incidence of prostate cancer (PCa) is rising steadily among males in many countries. Serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is widely applied to clinical diagnosis and screening of PCa. However, the so-called grey area of PSA levels 4.0–10.0 ng/mL has a low specificity of 25–40% resulting in a high rate of negative biopsy and overtreatment. So in order to treat PCa patients in early stage, there is an urgent need for new biomarkers in PCa diagnosis. The PCA3 gene, a non-coding RNA (ncRNA) that is highly expressed in prostate cancer (PCa) cells, has been identified as a molecular biomarkers to detect PCa, of which PCA3 has already under clinical application. PCA3 is strongly overexpressed in malignant prostate tissue compared to benign or normal adjacent one. Newly, PCA3 is considered to be a promising biomarker in clinical diagnosis and targeted therapy. The diagnostic significance of PCA3, however, is awaiting further researches. Moreover, it has been demonstrated recently that TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion is identified as the predominant genetic change in patients diagnosed with PCa. Recent study revealed that combination of the PCA3 and TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion test optimizes PCa detection compared with that of single biomarker, which would lead to a considerable reduction of the number of prostate biopsies. In this review, we focused on the potential use of PCA3 and TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion detection in the diagnosis of PCa.