BACKGROUND: Mitochondria are suggested to be important organelles for cancer initiation and promotion. This study was designed to evaluate the prognostic value of MTC02, a marker for mitochondrial content, in prostate cancer.
METHODS: Immunohistochemistry of using an antibody against MTC02 was performed on a tissue microarray (TMA) containing 11,152 prostate cancer specimens. Results were compared to histological phenotype, biochemical recurrence, ERG status and other genomic deletions by using our TMA attached molecular information.
RESULTS: Tumor cells showed stronger MTC02 expression than normal prostate epithelium. MTC02 immunostaining was found in 96.5% of 8,412 analyzable prostate cancers, including 15.4% tumors with weak, 34.6% with moderate, and 46.5% with strong expression. MTC02 expression was associated with advanced pathological tumor stage, high Gleason score, nodal metastases (p < 0.0001 each), positive surgical margins (p = 0.0005), and early PSA recurrence (p < 0.0001) if all cancers were jointly analyzed. Tumors harboring ERG fusion showed higher expression levels than those without (p < 0.0001). In ERG negative prostate cancers, strong MTC02 immunostaining was linked to deletions of PTEN, 6q15, 5q21, and early biochemical recurrence (p < 0.0001 each). Moreover, multiple scenarios of multivariate analyses suggested an independent association of MTC02 with prognosis in preoperative settings.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates high-level MTC02 expression in ERG negative prostate cancers harboring deletions of PTEN, 6q15, and 5q21. Additionally, increased MTC02 expression is a strong predictor of poor clinical outcome in ERG negative cancers, highlighting a potentially important role of elevated mitochondrial content for prostate cancer cell biology.