Clonal Evaluation of Prostate Cancer Foci in Biopsies with Discontinuous Tumor Involvement by Dual ERG/SPINK1 Immunohistochemistry

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Modern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc


The presence of two or more prostate cancer foci separated by intervening benign tissue in a single core is a well-recognized finding on prostate biopsy. Cancer involvement can be measured by including intervening benign tissue or only including the actual cancer involved area. Importantly, this parameter is a common enrollment criterion for active surveillance protocols. We hypothesized that spatially distinct prostate cancer foci in biopsies may arise from separate clones, impacting cancer involvement assessment. Hence, we used dual ERG/SPINK1 immunohistochemistry to determine the frequency of separate clones-when separate tumor foci showed discordant ERG and/or SPINK1 status-in discontinuously involved prostate biopsy cores from two academic institutions. In our cohort of 97 prostate biopsy cores with spatially discrete tumor foci (from 80 patients), discontinuous cancer involvement including intervening tissue ranged from 20 to 100% and Gleason scores ranged from 6 to 9. Twenty-four (25%) of 97 discontinuously involved cores harbored clonally distinct cancer foci by discordant ERG and/or SPINK1 expression status: 58% (14/24) had one ERG(+) focus, and one ERG(-)/SPINK1(-) focus; 29% (7/24) had one SPINK1(+) focus and one ERG(-)/SPINK1(-) focus; and 13% (3/24) had one ERG(+) focus and one SPINK1(+) focus. ERG and SPINK1 overexpression were mutually exclusive in all tumor foci. In summary, our results show that ~25% of discontinuously involved prostate biopsy cores showed tumor foci with discordant ERG/SPINK1 status, consistent with multiclonal disease. The relatively frequent presence of multiclonality in discontinuously involved prostate biopsy cores warrants studies on the potential clinical impact of clonality assessment, particularly in cases where tumor volume in a discontinuous core may impact active surveillance eligibility.

Medical Subject Headings

Adenocarcinoma; Biomarkers, Tumor; Biopsy, Large-Core Needle; Carrier Proteins; Clone Cells; Humans; Immunohistochemistry; Male; Michigan; Neoplasm Grading; New York City; Predictive Value of Tests; Prostatic Neoplasms; Trans-Activators; Transcriptional Regulator ERG; Trypsin Inhibitor, Kazal Pancreatic

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