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PLoS One. 2011 Apr 29;6(4):e19343. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019343.

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

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Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D. C., United States of America.



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.


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.


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.

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