BACKGROUND: Protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor 12 (PTPN12) is ubiquitously tyrosine phosphatase with tumor suppressive properties.
METHODS: PTPN12 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray with 13,660 clinical prostate cancer specimens.
RESULTS: PTPN12 staining was typically absent or weak in normal prostatic epithelium but seen in the majority of cancers, where staining was considered weak in 26.5%, moderate in 39.9%, and strong in 4.7%. High PTPN12 staining was associated with high pT category, high classical and quantitative Gleason grade, lymph node metastasis, positive surgical margin, high Ki67 labeling index and early prostate specific antigen recurrence (p < 0.0001 each). PTPN12 staining was seen in 86.4% of TMPRSS2:ERG fusion positive but in only 58.4% of ERG negative cancers. Subset analyses discovered that all associations with unfavorable phenotype and prognosis were markedly stronger in ERG positive than in ERG negative cancers but still retained in the latter group. Multivariate analyses revealed an independent prognostic impact of high PTPN12 expression in all cancers and in the ERG negative subgroup and to a lesser extent also in ERG positive cancers. Comparison with 12 previously analyzed chromosomal deletions revealed that high PTPN12 expression was significantly associated with 10 of 12 deletions in ERG negative and with 7 of 12 deletions in ERG positive cancers (p < 0.05 each) indicating that PTPN12 overexpression parallels increased genomic instability in prostate cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: These data identify PTPN12 as an independent prognostic marker in prostate cancer. PTPN12 analysis, either alone or in combination with other biomarkers might be of clinical utility in assessing prostate cancer aggressiveness.