YK-4-279 inhibits ERG and ETV1 mediated prostate cancer cell invasion

Said Rahim, Elspeth M. Beauchamp, Yali Kong, Milton L. Brown, Jeffrey A. Toretsky, Aykut Üren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Background: Genomic rearrangements involving the ETS family of transcription factors occur in 40-70% of prostate cancer cases. ERG and ETV1 are the most common ETS members observed in these genetic alterations. The high prevalence of these rearrangements and their biological significance represents a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of prostate cancer. Methods and Findings: We recently reported the development of YK-4-279, a small molecule inhibitor of EWS-FLI1 oncoprotein in Ewing's Sarcoma. Since ERG and ETV1 belong to the same class of ETS factors as FLI1, we tested the ability of YK-4-279 to inhibit biological functions of ERG and ETV1 proteins in prostate cancer. YK-4-279 inhibited ERG and ETV1 mediated transcriptional activity in a luciferase assay. YK-4-279 also decreased ERG and ETV1 downstream target mRNA and protein expression in ETV1-fusion positive LNCaP and ERG fusion positive VCaP cells. YK-4-279 reduced the motility of LNCaP cells in a scratch assay and the invasive phenotype of both LNCaP and VCaP cells in a HUVEC invasion assay. Fusion-negative PC3 cells were unresponsive to YK-4-279. SiRNA mediated ERG knockdown in VCaP cells resulted in a loss of drug responsiveness. Concurrently, transient ERG expression in PC-3 cells resulted in increased invasive potential, which was reduced by YK-4-279. Conclusion: These data demonstrate that YK-4-279 inhibits ERG and ETV1 biological activity in fusion-positive prostate cancer cells leading to decreased motility and invasion. Therefore, YK-4-279 may have an impact on metastasis in prostate cancer and it may be further evaluated for its clinical applications in prostate cancer in addition to Ewing's sarcoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere19343
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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