Secreted Frizzled-Related Protein 4 (SFRP4) Is an Independent Prognostic Marker in Prostate Cancers Lacking TMPRSS2: ERG Fusions


Secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4) controls WNT signaling and is thought to play a role for tumor aggressiveness. Here, we analyzed a tissue microarray containing 11,152 prostate cancers with pathological, clinical and molecular data by immunohistochemistry. SFRP4 expression was higher in cancer than in non-neoplastic acinar cells. SFRP4 staining was seen in 64.9% of tumors and classified as weak in 33.2%, moderate in 23.9% and strong in 7.8% of cancers. SFRP4 overexpression was linked to advanced tumor stage, high classical/quantitative Gleason grade (p < 0.0001 each), lymph node metastasis (p = 0.0002), and a positive surgical margin (p = 0.0017). SFRP4 positivity was markedly more frequent in ERG positive (77.4%) than in ERG negative cancers (57.4% p < 0.0001). Subset analyses in 2725 cancers with and 3592 cancers without TMPRSS2:ERG fusion revealed that associations with tumor phenotype and patient outcome were largely driven by the subset of ERG negative tumors. In a multivariate analysis including various postoperative and prognostic clinico-pathological features, SFRP4 protein expression emerged as an independent prognostic parameter in ERG negative cancers. SFRP4 immunostaining was significantly linked with 10 of 11 previously analyzed chromosomal deletions (p < 0.05 each). In conclusion, high SFRP4 immunostaining is associated with poor prognosis and genomic instability in ERG negative prostate cancers.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10.2020
PubMed 32677026