Gene Summary

Gene:HOXA5; homeobox A5
Aliases: HOX1, HOX1C, HOX1.3
Summary:In vertebrates, the genes encoding the class of transcription factors called homeobox genes are found in clusters named A, B, C, and D on four separate chromosomes. Expression of these proteins is spatially and temporally regulated during embryonic development. This gene is part of the A cluster on chromosome 7 and encodes a DNA-binding transcription factor which may regulate gene expression, morphogenesis, and differentiation. Methylation of this gene may result in the loss of its expression and, since the encoded protein upregulates the tumor suppressor p53, this protein may play an important role in tumorigenesis. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:homeobox protein Hox-A5
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Transcription Factors
  • Wound Healing
  • CpG Islands
  • Messenger RNA
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Chromosome 7
  • Mutation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • DNA Methylation
  • p53 Protein
  • Homeobox Genes
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Apoptosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Promoter Regions
  • Up-Regulation
  • Leukaemia
  • Base Sequence
  • Epigenetics
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Binding Sites
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Staging
  • Myeloid Leukemia
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: HOXA5 (cancer-related)

Loh M, Liem N, Vaithilingam A, et al.
DNA methylation subgroups and the CpG island methylator phenotype in gastric cancer: a comprehensive profiling approach.
BMC Gastroenterol. 2014; 14:55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Methylation-induced silencing of promoter CpG islands in tumor suppressor genes plays an important role in human carcinogenesis. In colorectal cancer, the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) is defined as widespread and elevated levels of DNA methylation and CIMP+ tumors have distinctive clinicopathological and molecular features. In contrast, the existence of a comparable CIMP subtype in gastric cancer (GC) has not been clearly established. To further investigate this issue, in the present study we performed comprehensive DNA methylation profiling of a well-characterised series of primary GC.
METHODS: The methylation status of 1,421 autosomal CpG sites located within 768 cancer-related genes was investigated using the Illumina GoldenGate Methylation Panel I assay on DNA extracted from 60 gastric tumors and matched tumor-adjacent gastric tissue pairs. Methylation data was analysed using a recursively partitioned mixture model and investigated for associations with clinicopathological and molecular features including age, Helicobacter pylori status, tumor site, patient survival, microsatellite instability and BRAF and KRAS mutations.
RESULTS: A total of 147 genes were differentially methylated between tumor and matched tumor-adjacent gastric tissue, with HOXA5 and hedgehog signalling being the top-ranked gene and signalling pathway, respectively. Unsupervised clustering of methylation data revealed the existence of 6 subgroups under two main clusters, referred to as L (low methylation; 28% of cases) and H (high methylation; 72%). Female patients were over-represented in the H tumor group compared to L group (36% vs 6%; P = 0.024), however no other significant differences in clinicopathological or molecular features were apparent. CpG sites that were hypermethylated in group H were more frequently located in CpG islands and marked for polycomb occupancy.
CONCLUSIONS: High-throughput methylation analysis implicates genes involved in embryonic development and hedgehog signaling in gastric tumorigenesis. GC is comprised of two major methylation subtypes, with the highly methylated group showing some features consistent with a CpG island methylator phenotype.

Martínez R, Carmona FJ, Vizoso M, et al.
DNA methylation alterations in grade II- and anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:213 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) is a rare WHO grade II tumor accounting for less than 1% of all astrocytomas. Malignant transformation into PXA with anaplastic features, is unusual and correlates with poorer outcome of the patients.
METHODS: Using a DNA methylation custom array, we have quantified the DNA methylation level on the promoter sequence of 807 cancer-related genes of WHO grade II (n = 11) and III PXA (n = 2) and compared to normal brain tissue (n = 10) and glioblastoma (n = 87) samples. DNA methylation levels were further confirmed on independent samples by pyrosequencing of the promoter sequences.
RESULTS: Increasing DNA promoter hypermethylation events were observed in anaplastic PXA as compared with grade II samples. We further validated differential hypermethylation of CD81, HCK, HOXA5, ASCL2 and TES on anaplastic PXA and grade II tumors. Moreover, these epigenetic alterations overlap those described in glioblastoma patients, suggesting common mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: Even taking into consideration the small size of our patient populations, our data strongly suggest that epigenome-wide profiling of PXA is a valuable tool to identify methylated genes, which may play a role in the malignant progression of PXA. These methylation alterations may provide useful biomarkers for decision-making in those patients with low-grade PXA displaying a high risk of malignant transformation.

Sengupta S, Weeraratne SD, Sun H, et al.
α5-GABAA receptors negatively regulate MYC-amplified medulloblastoma growth.
Acta Neuropathol. 2014; 127(4):593-603 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Neural tumors often express neurotransmitter receptors as markers of their developmental lineage. Although these receptors have been well characterized in electrophysiological, developmental and pharmacological settings, their importance in the maintenance and progression of brain tumors and, importantly, the effect of their targeting in brain cancers remains obscure. Here, we demonstrate high levels of GABRA5, which encodes the α5-subunit of the GABAA receptor complex, in aggressive MYC-driven, "Group 3" medulloblastomas. We hypothesized that modulation of α5-GABAA receptors alters medulloblastoma cell survival and monitored biological and electrophysiological responses of GABRA5-expressing medulloblastoma cells upon pharmacological targeting of the GABAA receptor. While antagonists, inverse agonists and non-specific positive allosteric modulators had limited effects on medulloblastoma cells, a highly specific and potent α5-GABAA receptor agonist, QHii066, resulted in marked membrane depolarization and a significant decrease in cell survival. This effect was GABRA5 dependent and mediated through the induction of apoptosis as well as accumulation of cells in S and G2 phases of the cell cycle. Chemical genomic profiling of QHii066-treated medulloblastoma cells confirmed inhibition of MYC-related transcriptional activity and revealed an enrichment of HOXA5 target gene expression. siRNA-mediated knockdown of HOXA5 markedly blunted the response of medulloblastoma cells to QHii066. Furthermore, QHii066 sensitized GABRA5 positive medulloblastoma cells to radiation and chemotherapy consistent with the role of HOXA5 in directly regulating p53 expression and inducing apoptosis. Thus, our results provide novel insights into the synthetic lethal nature of α5-GABAA receptor activation in MYC-driven/Group 3 medulloblastomas and propose its targeting as a novel strategy for the management of this highly aggressive tumor.

Chung J, Karkhanis V, Tae S, et al.
Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) inhibition induces lymphoma cell death through reactivation of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor pathway and polycomb repressor complex 2 (PRC2) silencing.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(49):35534-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Epigenetic regulation mediated by lysine- and arginine-specific enzymes plays an essential role in tumorigenesis, and enhanced expression of the type II protein arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 as well as the polycomb repressor complex PRC2 has been associated with increased cell proliferation and survival. Here, we show that PRMT5 is overexpressed in three different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines and clinical samples as well as in mouse primary lymphoma cells and that it up-regulates PRC2 expression through inactivation of the retinoblastoma proteins RB1 and RBL2. Although PRMT5 epigenetically controls RBL2 expression, it indirectly promotes RB1 phosphorylation through enhanced cyclin D1 expression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PRMT5 knockdown in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines and mouse primary lymphoma cells leads to RBL2 derepression and RB1 reactivation, which in turn inhibit PRC2 expression and trigger derepression of its CASP10, DAP1, HOXA5, and HRK pro-apoptotic target genes. We also show that reduced PRMT5 expression leads to cyclin D1 transcriptional repression via loss of TP53K372 methylation, which results in decreased BCL3 expression and enhanced recruitment of NF-κB p52-HDAC1 repressor complexes to the cyclin D1 promoter. These findings indicate that PRMT5 is a master epigenetic regulator that governs expression of its own target genes and those regulated by PRC2 and that its inhibition could offer a promising therapeutic strategy for lymphoma patients.

Liu XH, Liu ZL, Sun M, et al.
The long non-coding RNA HOTAIR indicates a poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:464 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The identification of cancer-associated long non-coding RNAs and the investigation of their molecular and biological functions are important for understanding the molecular biology and progression of cancer. HOTAIR (HOX transcript antisense intergenic RNA) has been implicated in several cancers; however, its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unknown. The aim of the present study was to examine the expression pattern of HOTAIR in NSCLC and to evaluate its biological role and clinical significance in tumor progression.
METHODS: Expression of HOTAIR was analyzed in 42 NSCLC tissues and four NSCLC cell lines by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Over-expression and RNA interference (RNAi) approaches were used to investigate the biological functions of HOTAIR. The effect of HOTAIR on proliferation was evaluated by MTT and colony formation assays, and cell migration and invasion were evaluated by transwell assays. Tail vein injection of cells was used to study metastasis in nude mice. Protein levels of HOTAIR targets were determined by western blot analysis. Differences between groups were tested for significance using Student's t-test (two-tailed).
RESULTS: HOTAIR was highly expressed both in NSCLC samples and cell lines compared with corresponding normal counterparts. HOTAIR upregulation was correlated with NSCLC advanced pathological stage and lymph-node metastasis. Moreover, patients with high levels of HOTAIR expression had a relatively poor prognosis. Inhibition of HOTAIR by RNAi decreased the migration and invasion of NSCLC cells in vitro and impeded cell metastasis in vivo. HOXA5 levels were affected by HOTAIR knockdown or over-expression in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that HOTAIR is significantly up-regulated in NSCLC tissues, and regulates NSCLC cell invasion and metastasis, partially via the down-regulation of HOXA5. Thus, HOTAIR may represent a new marker of poor prognosis and is a potential therapeutic target for NSCLC intervention.

Kang JU
Characterization of amplification patterns and target genes on the short arm of chromosome 7 in early-stage lung adenocarcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2013; 8(5):1373-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal alterations are a predominant genomic force contributing to the development of lung adenocarcinoma (ADC). High density genomic arrays were conducted to identify critical genetic landmarks that may be important mediators in the formation or progression of early‑stage ADC. In this study, the most noteworthy and consistent observation was a copy number gain on the short arm of chromosome 7, which was detected in 85.7% (12/14) of cases. Notably, three distinct regions of amplification were identified between the 7p22.3 and q11.2 regions in 28.6% (4/14) of cases; at a size of 4.1 Mbp (7p22.3‑p21.1), 2.6 Mbp (7p15.2-p14.1) and 1.5 Mbp (7p12.3‑p11.2). Variations of the 7p11.2 locus that encodes EGFR are known to be oncogenic. Furthermore, potential target genes were identified that were previously not assumed to be involved in the pathogenesis of ADC, including CALM1P2 (7p11.2), HOXA4, HOXA5, HOXA6, HOXA7, HOXA9, HOXA10, HOXA11 and HOXA13 (7p15.2) and LOC442586, LOC442589, LOC442282, FAM20C and LOC442651 (7p22.3). The present study determined critical regions on the 7p arm of chromosome 7, which were implicated in ADC. The pattern of rearrangements on the 7p arm may be a consequence of the high density of potential targets and the identified genes at the 7p regions may aid in the development of therapeutic targets for ADC.

Asuthkar S, Stepanova V, Lebedeva T, et al.
Multifunctional roles of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) in cancer stemness and chemoresistance of pancreatic cancer.
Mol Biol Cell. 2013; 24(17):2620-32 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost always lethal. One of the underlying reasons for this lethality is believed to be the presence of cancer stem cells (CSC), which impart chemoresistance and promote recurrence, but the mechanisms responsible are unclear. Recently the poor prognosis of PDAC has been correlated with increased expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). In the present study we examine the role of uPA in the generation of PDAC CSC. We observe a subset of cells identifiable as a side population (SP) when sorted by flow cytometry of MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells that possess the properties of CSC. A large fraction of these SP cells are CD44 and CD24 positive, are gemcitabine resistant, possess sphere-forming ability, and exhibit increased tumorigenicity, known characteristics of cancer stemness. Increased tumorigenicity and gemcitabine resistance decrease after suppression of uPA. We observe that uPA interacts directly with transcription factors LIM homeobox-2 (Lhx2), homeobox transcription factor A5 (HOXA5), and Hey to possibly promote cancer stemness. uPA regulates Lhx2 expression by suppressing expression of miR-124 and p53 expression by repressing its promoter by inactivating HOXA5. These results demonstrate that regulation of gene transcription by uPA contributes to cancer stemness and clinical lethality.

Calero-Nieto FJ, Joshi A, Bonadies N, et al.
HOX-mediated LMO2 expression in embryonic mesoderm is recapitulated in acute leukaemias.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(48):5471-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
The Lim Domain Only 2 (LMO2) leukaemia oncogene encodes an LIM domain transcriptional cofactor required for early haematopoiesis. During embryogenesis, LMO2 is also expressed in developing tail and limb buds, an expression pattern we now show to be recapitulated in transgenic mice by an enhancer in LMO2 intron 4. Limb bud expression depended on a cluster of HOX binding sites, while posterior tail expression required the HOX sites and two E-boxes. Given the importance of both LMO2 and HOX genes in acute leukaemias, we further demonstrated that the regulatory hierarchy of HOX control of LMO2 is activated in leukaemia mouse models as well as in patient samples. Moreover, Lmo2 knock-down impaired the growth of leukaemic cells, and high LMO2 expression at diagnosis correlated with poor survival in cytogenetically normal AML patients. Taken together, these results establish a regulatory hierarchy of HOX control of LMO2 in normal development, which can be resurrected during leukaemia development. Redeployment of embryonic regulatory hierarchies in an aberrant context is likely to be relevant in human pathologies beyond the specific example of ectopic activation of LMO2.

Otto B, Streichert T, Wegwitz F, et al.
Transcription factors link mouse WAP-T mammary tumors with human breast cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2013; 132(6):1311-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mouse models are important tools to decipher the molecular mechanisms of mammary carcinogenesis and to mimic the respective human disease. Despite sharing common phenotypic and genetic features, the proper translation of murine models to human breast cancer remains a challenging task. In a previous study we showed that in the SV40 transgenic WAP-T mice an active Met-pathway and epithelial-mesenchymal characteristics distinguish low- and high-grade mammary carcinoma. To assign these murine tumors to corresponding human tumors we here incorporated the analysis of expression of transcription factor (TF) coding genes and show that thereby a more accurate interspecies translation can be achieved. We describe a novel cross-species translation procedure and demonstrate that expression of unsupervised selected TFs, such as ELF5, HOXA5 and TFCP2L1, can clearly distinguish between the human molecular breast cancer subtypes--or as, for example, expression of TFAP2B between yet unclassified subgroups. By integrating different levels of information like histology, gene set enrichment, expression of differentiation markers and TFs we conclude that tumors in WAP-T mice exhibit similarities to both, human basal-like and non-basal-like subtypes. We furthermore suggest that the low- and high-grade WAP-T tumor phenotypes might arise from distinct cells of tumor origin. Our results underscore the importance of TFs as common cross-species denominators in the regulatory networks underlying mammary carcinogenesis.

Kachgal S, Mace KA, Boudreau NJ
The dual roles of homeobox genes in vascularization and wound healing.
Cell Adh Migr. 2012 Nov-Dec; 6(6):457-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Homeobox genes represent a family of highly conserved transcription factors originally discovered to regulate organ patterning during development. More recently, several homeobox genes were shown to affect processes in adult tissue, including angiogenesis and wound healing. Whereas a subset of members of the Hox-family of homeobox genes activate growth and migration to promote angiogenesis or wound healing, other Hox genes function to restore or maintain quiescent, differentiated tissue function. Pathological tissue remodeling is linked to differential expression of activating or stabilizing Hox genes and dysregulation of Hox expression can contribute to disease progression. Studies aimed at understanding the role and regulation of Hox genes have provided insight into how these potent morphoregulatory genes can be applied to enhance tissue engineering or limit cancer progression.

Novak RL, Harper DP, Caudell D, et al.
Gene expression profiling and candidate gene resequencing identifies pathways and mutations important for malignant transformation caused by leukemogenic fusion genes.
Exp Hematol. 2012; 40(12):1016-27 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
NUP98-HOXD13 (NHD13) and CALM-AF10 (CA10) are oncogenic fusion proteins produced by recurrent chromosomal translocations in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Transgenic mice that express these fusions develop AML with a long latency and incomplete penetrance, suggesting that collaborating genetic events are required for leukemic transformation. We employed genetic techniques to identify both preleukemic abnormalities in healthy transgenic mice as well as collaborating events leading to leukemic transformation. Candidate gene resequencing revealed that 6 of 27 (22%) CA10 AMLs spontaneously acquired a Ras pathway mutation and 8 of 27 (30%) acquired an Flt3 mutation. Two CA10 AMLs acquired an Flt3 internal-tandem duplication, demonstrating that these mutations can be acquired in murine as well as human AML. Gene expression profiles revealed a marked upregulation of Hox genes, particularly Hoxa5, Hoxa9, and Hoxa10 in both NHD13 and CA10 mice. Furthermore, mir196b, which is embedded within the Hoxa locus, was overexpressed in both CA10 and NHD13 samples. In contrast, the Hox cofactors Meis1 and Pbx3 were differentially expressed; Meis1 was increased in CA10 AMLs but not NHD13 AMLs, whereas Pbx3 was consistently increased in NHD13 but not CA10 AMLs. Silencing of Pbx3 in NHD13 cells led to decreased proliferation, increased apoptosis, and decreased colony formation in vitro, suggesting a previously unexpected role for Pbx3 in leukemic transformation.

Liu XH, Lu KH, Wang KM, et al.
MicroRNA-196a promotes non-small cell lung cancer cell proliferation and invasion through targeting HOXA5.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:348 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs (~22 nt) that play important roles in the pathogenesis of human diseases by negatively regulating gene expression. Although miR-196a has been implicated in several other cancers, its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unknown. The aim of the present study was to examine the expression pattern of miR-196a in NSCLC and its clinical significance, as well as its biological role in tumor progression.
METHODS: Expression of miR-196a was analyzed in 34 NSCLC tissues and five NSCLC cell lines by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The effect of DNA methylation on miR-196a expression was investigated by 5-aza-2-deoxy-cytidine treatment and bisulfite sequencing. The effect of miR-196a on proliferation was evaluated by MTT and colony formation assays, and cell migration and invasion were evaluated by transwell assays. Analysis of target protein expression was determined by western blotting. Luciferase reporter plasmids were constructed to confirm the action of miR-196a on downstream target genes, including HOXA5. Differences between the results were tested for significance using Student's t-test (two-tailed).
RESULTS: miR-196a was highly expressed both in NSCLC samples and cell lines compared with their corresponding normal counterparts, and the expression of miR-196a may be affected by DNA demethylation. Higher expression of miR-196a in NSCLC tissues was associated with a higher clinical stage, and also correlated with NSCLC lymph-node metastasis. In vitro functional assays demonstrated that modulation of miR-196a expression affected NSCLC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Our analysis showed that miR-196a suppressed the expression of HOXA5 both at the mRNA and protein levels, and luciferase assays confirmed that miR-196a directly bound to the 3'untranslated region of HOXA5. Knockdown of HOXA5 expression in A549 cells using RNAi was shown to promote NSCLC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Finally, we observed an inverse correlation between HOXA5 and miR-196a expression in NSCLC tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that miR-196a is significantly up-regulated in NSCLC tissues, and regulates NSCLC cell proliferation, migration and invasion, partially via the down-regulation of HOXA5. Thus, miR-196a may represent a potential therapeutic target for NSCLC intervention.

Kikuyama M, Takeshima H, Kinoshita T, et al.
Development of a novel approach, the epigenome-based outlier approach, to identify tumor-suppressor genes silenced by aberrant DNA methylation.
Cancer Lett. 2012; 322(2):204-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Identification of tumor-suppressor genes (TSGs) silenced by aberrant methylation of promoter CpG islands (CGIs) is important, but hampered by a large number of genes methylated as passengers of carcinogenesis. To overcome this issue, we here took advantage of the fact that the vast majority of genes methylated in cancers lack, in normal cells, RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and have trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) in their promoter CGIs. First, we demonstrated that three of six known TSGs in breast cancer and two of three in colon cancer had Pol II and lacked H3K27me3 in normal cells, being outliers to the general rule. BRCA1, HOXA5, MLH1, and RASSF1A had high Pol II, but were expressed only at low levels in normal cells, and were unlikely to be identified as outliers by their expression statuses in normal cells. Then, using epigenome statuses (Pol II binding and H3K27me3) in normal cells, we made a genome-wide search for outliers in breast cancers, and identified 14 outlier promoter CGIs. Among these, DZIP1, FBN2, HOXA5, and HOXC9 were confirmed to be methylated in primary breast cancer samples. Knockdown of DZIP1 in breast cancer cell lines led to increases of their growth, suggesting it to be a novel TSG. The outliers based on their epigenome statuses contained unique TSGs, including DZIP1, compared with those identified by the expression microarray data. These results showed that the epigenome-based outlier approach is capable of identifying a different set of TSGs, compared to the expression-based outlier approach.

Rodini CO, Xavier FC, Paiva KB, et al.
Homeobox gene expression profile indicates HOXA5 as a candidate prognostic marker in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Int J Oncol. 2012; 40(4):1180-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
The search for molecular markers to improve diagnosis, individualize treatment and predict behavior of tumors has been the focus of several studies. This study aimed to analyze homeobox gene expression profile in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) as well as to investigate whether some of these genes are relevant molecular markers of prognosis and/or tumor aggressiveness. Homeobox gene expression levels were assessed by microarrays and qRT-PCR in OSCC tissues and adjacent non-cancerous matched tissues (margin), as well as in OSCC cell lines. Analysis of microarray data revealed the expression of 147 homeobox genes, including one set of six at least 2-fold up-regulated, and another set of 34 at least 2-fold down-regulated homeobox genes in OSCC. After qRT-PCR assays, the three most up-regulated homeobox genes (HOXA5, HOXD10 and HOXD11) revealed higher and statistically significant expression levels in OSCC samples when compared to margins. Patients presenting lower expression of HOXA5 had poorer prognosis compared to those with higher expression (P=0.03). Additionally, the status of HOXA5, HOXD10 and HOXD11 expression levels in OSCC cell lines also showed a significant up-regulation when compared to normal oral keratinocytes. Results confirm the presence of three significantly upregulated (>4-fold) homeobox genes (HOXA5, HOXD10 and HOXD11) in OSCC that may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of these tumors. Moreover, since lower levels of HOXA5 predict poor prognosis, this gene may be a novel candidate for development of therapeutic strategies in OSCC.

Gough SM, Slape CI, Aplan PD
NUP98 gene fusions and hematopoietic malignancies: common themes and new biologic insights.
Blood. 2011; 118(24):6247-57 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Structural chromosomal rearrangements of the Nucleoporin 98 gene (NUP98), primarily balanced translocations and inversions, are associated with a wide array of hematopoietic malignancies. NUP98 is known to be fused to at least 28 different partner genes in patients with hematopoietic malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia in blast crisis, myelodysplastic syndrome, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and bilineage/biphenotypic leukemia. NUP98 gene fusions typically encode a fusion protein that retains the amino terminus of NUP98; in this context, it is important to note that several recent studies have demonstrated that the amino-terminal portion of NUP98 exhibits transcription activation potential. Approximately half of the NUP98 fusion partners encode homeodomain proteins, and at least 5 NUP98 fusions involve known histone-modifying genes. Several of the NUP98 fusions, including NUP98-homeobox (HOX)A9, NUP98-HOXD13, and NUP98-JARID1A, have been used to generate animal models of both lymphoid and myeloid malignancy; these models typically up-regulate HOXA cluster genes, including HOXA5, HOXA7, HOXA9, and HOXA10. In addition, several of the NUP98 fusion proteins have been shown to inhibit differentiation of hematopoietic precursors and to increase self-renewal of hematopoietic stem or progenitor cells, providing a potential mechanism for malignant transformation.

Shu Y, Wang B, Wang J, et al.
Identification of methylation profile of HOX genes in extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
World J Gastroenterol. 2011; 17(29):3407-19 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
AIM: To identify methylation profile and novel tumor marker of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) with high throughout microarray.
METHODS: Differential methylation profile was compared between normal bile duct epithelial cell lines and CCA cell lines by methyl-DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) microarray. Bisulfite-polymerase chain reaction (BSP) was performed to identify the methylated allels of target genes. Expression of target genes was investigated before and after the treatment with DNA demethylating agent. Expression of candidate genes was also evaluated by immunofluorescence in 30 specimens of CCA tissues and 9 normal bile duct tissues.
RESULTS: Methylation profile of CCA was identified with MeDIP microarray in the respects of different gene functions and signaling pathways. Interestingly, 97 genes with hypermethylated CpG islands in the promoter region were homeobox genes. The top 5 hypermethylated homeobox genes validated by BSP were HOXA2 (94.29%), HOXA5 (95.38%), HOXA11 (91.67%), HOXB4 (90.56%) and HOXD13 (94.38%). Expression of these genes was reactivated with 5'-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Significant expression differences were found between normal bile duct and extrahepatic CCA tissues (66.67%-100% vs 3.33%-10%).
CONCLUSION: HOXA2, HOXA5, HOXA11, HOXB4 and HOXD13 may work as differential epigenetic biomarkers between malignant and benign biliary tissues.

Gray S, Pandha HS, Michael A, et al.
HOX genes in pancreatic development and cancer.
JOP. 2011; 12(3):216-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The HOX genes are a family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that determine cellular identity during development and which are subsequently re-expressed in many types of cancer. Some recent studies have shown that HOX genes may have key roles both in pancreatic development and in adult diseases of the pancreas, including cancer. In this review we consider recent advances in elucidating the role of HOX genes in these processes, how they may connect early developmental events to subsequent adult disease, and their potential both as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets.

Eberle FC, Rodriguez-Canales J, Wei L, et al.
Methylation profiling of mediastinal gray zone lymphoma reveals a distinctive signature with elements shared by classical Hodgkin's lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma.
Haematologica. 2011; 96(4):558-66 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mediastinal gray zone lymphoma is a newly recognized entity with transitional morphological and immunophenotypic features between the nodular sclerosis subtype of Hodgkin's lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma. Diagnostic criteria for mediastinal gray zone lymphoma are still challenging, and the optimal therapy is as yet undetermined. Epigenetic changes have been implicated in the loss of the B-cell program in classical Hodgkin's lymphoma, and might provide a basis for the immunophenotypic alterations seen in mediastinal gray zone lymphoma.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We performed a large-scale DNA methylation analysis of microdissected tumor cells to investigate the biological underpinnings of mediastinal gray zone lymphoma and its association with the related entities classical Hodgkin's lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, making comparisons with the presumptively less related diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
RESULTS: Principal component analysis demonstrated that mediastinal gray zone lymphoma has a distinct epigenetic profile intermediate between classical Hodgkin's lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma but remarkably different from that of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Analysis of common hypo- and hypermethylated CpG targets in mediastinal gray zone lymphoma, classical Hodgkin's lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was performed and confirmed the findings of the principal component analysis. Based on the epigenetic profiles we were able to establish class prediction models utilizing genes such as HOXA5, MMP9, EPHA7 and DAPK1 which could distinguish between mediastinal gray zone lymphoma, classical Hodgkin's lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma with a final combined prediction of 100%.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirm a close relationship between mediastinal gray zone lymphoma and both classical Hodgkin's lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma. However, important differences were observed as well, allowing a clear distinction from both parent entities. Thus, mediastinal gray zone lymphoma cannot be assigned to either classical Hodgkin's lymphoma or primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, validating the decision to create an intermediate category in the World Health Organization classification.

Kim SY, Hwang SH, Song EJ, et al.
Level of HOXA5 hypermethylation in acute myeloid leukemia is associated with short-term outcome.
Korean J Lab Med. 2010; 30(5):469-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypermethylation of the homeobox (HOX) gene promoter leads to decreased expression of the gene during tumor development and is thought to be correlated with the clinical outcome in leukemia. In this study, we performed pyrosequencing to quantify the methylation level of HOXA5 genes in the bone marrow samples obtained from 50 patients with AML and 19 normal controls. The methylation percentage of HOXA5 in AML patients (median=65.4%, interquartile range=35.9-72.3%) was higher than that of HOXA5 in control patients (median=43.1%, interquartile range=36.7-49.6%, Mann-Whitney U test, P=0.012). The patients of the AML group who had a high methylation percentage (>70%) had a good prognosis with a 3-yr overall survival (OS) of 82.5%, whereas the patients with a low methylation percentage (≤70%) showed a 3-yr OS of 40.5% (P=0.048). Cox proportional hazards regression showed that the methylation percentages of HOXA5 were independently associated with the 3-yr OS of AML patients, regardless of their karyotypes. We propose that the quantification of HOXA5 methylation by pyrosequencing may be useful for predicting short-term prognosis in AML. However, the limitations of our study are the small sample size and its preliminary nature. Thus, a larger study should be performed to clearly determine the relationships among HOXA5 methylation levels, cytogenetics, and prognosis in AML patients.

Yoo KH, Park YK, Kim HS, et al.
Epigenetic inactivation of HOXA5 and MSH2 gene in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
Pathol Int. 2010; 60(10):661-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The high-throughput method using microarray is an easy and fast way to analyze the methylation status of hundreds of preselected genes and to screen them for signatures in methylation. The aim of our study is to detect hypermethylated genes and to analyze the association between methylation status and clinicopathological parameters of clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The genetic substrate included 62 cancer tissues and 62 matched adjacent normal kidney tissues. We adapted the GoldenGate genotyping assay to determine the methylation state of 1505 specific CpG sites in 807 genes. We identified two genes (HOXA5 and MSH2) with β-value differences of more than 0.3 between cancer and normal tissues. The high methylation group in HOXA5 had high Fuhrman's nuclear grade (P= 0.041). Other data in HOXA5 and MSH2 were not significant with methylation status (P > 0.05). Survival curve of the high methylation group in HOXA5 was slightly lower than that of the low methylation group. However, the statistical significances of overall survival in HOXA5 and MSH2 were low (P > 0.05). We report the hypermethylation of two genes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The data we obtained could provide the basis for a diagnostic test pathological assessment, or prognosis in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.

Wang XC, Tian LL, Wu HL, et al.
Expression of miRNA-130a in nonsmall cell lung cancer.
Am J Med Sci. 2010; 340(5):385-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs are short regulatory RNAs that negatively modulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level and are deeply involved in the pathogenesis of several types of cancer. The miRNA-130a has been shown to play a role in antagonizing the inhibitory effects of GAX on endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube formation, and antagonizing the inhibitory effects of HoxA5 on tube formation in vitro. Here the authors show, for the first time, that miRNA-130a expression is increased in nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tissues. Statistical analysis showed that overexpression of miRNA-130a was strongly associated with lymph node metastasis, stage of tumor node metastasis classification and poor prognosis. Moreover, there was a significant difference in miRNA-130a expression levels between smoking and nonsmoking patients. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that miRNA-130a was an independent prognostic factor for patients with NSCLC. Together, these data suggest that miRNA-130a may comprise a potential novel prognostic marker for this disease.

Bach C, Buhl S, Mueller D, et al.
Leukemogenic transformation by HOXA cluster genes.
Blood. 2010; 115(14):2910-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
HOX homeobox genes are important regulators of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Abdominal-type HOXA genes like HOXA9 are highly leukemogenic. However, little is known about transformation by anterior HOXA genes. Here we performed a comprehensive assessment of the oncogenic potential of every HOXA gene in primary hematopoietic cells. With exception of HOXA2 and HOXA5, all HOXA genes caused a block or delay of hematopoietic differentiation and cooperated with Meis1. No evidence for the alleged tumor-suppressor function of HOXA5 could be found. Whereas all active HOXA genes immortalized mixed granulocytic/monocytic populations, HOXA13 preferentially specified monocytoid development. The anterior HOXA genes HOXA1, HOXA4, and HOXA6 transformed cells, generating permanent cell lines, although they did so less potently than HOXA9. Upon transplantation these lines induced myeloproliferation and acute myeloid leukemia in recipient animals. Kinetic studies with inducible HOX derivatives demonstrated that anterior HOXA genes autonomously contributed to cellular transformation. This function was not mediated by endogenous Hoxa9, which was persistently expressed in cells transformed by anterior HOX genes. In summary our results demonstrate a hitherto unexpected role of anterior HOXA genes in hematopoietic malignancy.

Kanai M, Hamada J, Takada M, et al.
Aberrant expressions of HOX genes in colorectal and hepatocellular carcinomas.
Oncol Rep. 2010; 23(3):843-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
HOX genes are known as master regulator genes which give cells positional information in embryogenesis. In this study, we compared the expression patterns of 39 HOX genes among human colorectal carcinomas from the right large intestine (cecum, ascending and transverse colon), those from the left large intestine (discending and sigmoid colon, and rectum) and hepatocellular carcinoma. The expression levels of each HOX gene were quantified by analysis based on the real-time RT-PCR. The expression patterns of HOX genes in colorectal and hepatocellular carcinoma tissues differed from those in their normal or non-cancerous tissues. Between the tumor tissues in the right-side large intestine and those in the left-side, different HOX genes were expressed in association with cancer. Further, the expression levels of HOXD8 in liver-metastatic tissues of colorectal carcinomas were as low as in non-cancerous liver tissues, and were significantly lower than those in the primary tissues. These results suggest that dysregulated expressions of HOX genes play an important role in carcinogenesis and malignant progression of colorectal and hepatocellular carcinomas.

Kim DS, Kim MJ, Lee JY, et al.
Epigenetic inactivation of Homeobox A5 gene in nonsmall cell lung cancer and its relationship with clinicopathological features.
Mol Carcinog. 2009; 48(12):1109-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Promoter methylation is an important mechanism in gene silencing and is a key epigenetic event in cancer development. Homeobox A5 (HOXA5) is a master regulator of the morphogenesis and cell differentiation to be implicated as a tumor suppressor gene in breast cancer, but its role in lung cancer is still unknown. In this study, we have investigated the methylation status of the promoter region of the HOXA5 gene in nonsmall cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) using nested and standard methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and correlated the methylation status with clinicopathological features. With standard MSP analysis, HOXA5 methylation were found in 113 (81.3%) of 139 NSCLCs and 72 (51.8%) in their corresponding nonmalignant lung tissues. RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analysis showed that HOXA5 methylation correlates with gene expression. Moreover, in the patients with stage I disease, HOXA5 methylation was more frequent in smokers than in never-smokes (P = 0.01). There was no influence of HOXA5 methylation on survival in all NSCLCs or at stages II-IV. However, in the patients with stage I disease, HOXA5 methylation was associated with a borderline significantly worse survival (P = 0.09). These findings suggest that downregulation of the HOXA5 gene by aberrant promoter methylation occurs in the vast majority of NSCLCs and that it may play a role in the pathogenesis of NSCLC. Additional studies with larger sample sizes are required to evaluate the prognostic value of HOXA5 methylation in patients with stage I NSCLC.

Yang YC, Wang SW, Wu IC, et al.
A tumorigenic homeobox (HOX) gene expressing human gastric cell line derived from putative gastric stem cell.
Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009; 21(9):1016-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
GOAL: Study the mechanism of gastric tumor development.
BACKGROUND: We have generated and characterized a novel human gastric cell line, KMU-CS12 (CS12), from an immortal cell line, KMU-CSN (CSN; formerly named as GI2CS) which was derived from putative human gastric stem cell/progenitor cell clone, KMU-GI2.
STUDY: The characterization of the CS12 cell line includes gene expression by immunocytochemical staining, cell proliferation and differentiation potential, cyotogenetic analysis by Giemsa banding and spectral karyotype analysis (SKY), and tumorigenicity in immune-deficient congenic inbred, nude mice (BALB/cAnN-Foxn1nu/CrlNarl). The Agilent Human 1A oligo-array and RT-PCR were also employed to analyze the expression of homeobox (HOX) genes.
RESULTS: The CS12 gastric cell line showed cancer cell phenotypes, i.e. the ability of anchorage-independent growth high frequency (44%) and to the expression of Oct-4, a transcription factor expressed in embryonic stem cells and many types of cancer cells, and tumor development in immune deficient mice. SKY analysis indicated a characteristic duplication of the short arm of chromosome 7 to chromosome 12. Agilent Human 1A oligo-array analysis showed that the expression of 1145 genes was upregulated while that of 890 genes was downregulated in CS12 cells. RT-PCR revealed that homeobox genes (HOXA4, HOXA5, HOXA7, HOXA9, and HOXA13) were highly expressed in CS12 cells in culture, as well as tumor tissues developed by CS12 cells in immunodeficient mice for six to eight weeks.
CONCLUSION: Except for the duplication of the short arm of Chromosome 7 on Chromosome12, the karyotype of the tumorigenic CS12 cells is similar to the parental GI2 cells which are non-tumorigenic and normal in karyotype. This chromosomal change could be the cause for the high expression of HOXA genes and tumorigenicity of these cells found in this study. Thus HOXA genes might play an important role in gastric carcinogenesis.

Bagadi SA, Prasad CP, Kaur J, et al.
Clinical significance of promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A, RARbeta2, BRCA1 and HOXA5 in breast cancers of Indian patients.
Life Sci. 2008; 82(25-26):1288-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Promoter hypermethylation of genes is implicated in the pathogenesis of many cancers, including breast cancer. Herein, we analyzed the promoter methylation status of a panel of critical growth regulatory genes, RASSF1A, RARbeta2, BRCA1 and HOXA5, in 54 breast cancers and 5 distant normal breast tissues of Indian patients. The methylation data were correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and hormone receptor status to determine the impact of methylation in breast carcinogenesis. Promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A was observed in 39/54 (72%), HOXA5 in 36/54 (67%), BRCA1 in 15/54 (28%) and RARbeta2 in 8/54 (15%) breast cancers. Our most significant findings were the association of RASSF1A methylation with nodal metastasis (p=0.05); and RARbeta2 methylation with age (all tumors in patients in the older age group were methylated, p=0.04). Further, the interactions between DNA methylation and hormone receptor biology in breast cancer cells are beginning to be clearly understood. In this context the association of HOXA5 methylation with loss of ERalpha (p=0.009) is noteworthy.

Jankovic D, Gorello P, Liu T, et al.
Leukemogenic mechanisms and targets of a NUP98/HHEX fusion in acute myeloid leukemia.
Blood. 2008; 111(12):5672-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have studied a patient with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and t(10;11)(q23;p15) as the sole cytogenetic abnormality. Molecular analysis revealed a translocation involving nucleoporin 98 (NUP98) fused to the DNA-binding domain of the hematopoietically expressed homeobox gene (HHEX). Expression of NUP98/HHEX in murine bone marrow cells leads to aberrant self-renewal and a block in normal differentiation that depends on the integrity of the NUP98 GFLG repeats and the HHEX homeodomain. Transplantation of bone marrow cells expressing NUP98/HHEX leads to transplantable acute leukemia characterized by extensive infiltration of leukemic blasts expressing myeloid markers (Gr1(+)) as well as markers of the B-cell lineage (B220(+)). A latency period of 9 months and its clonal character suggest that NUP98/HHEX is necessary but not sufficient for disease induction. Expression of EGFP-NUP98/HHEX fusions showed a highly similar nuclear localization pattern as for other NUP98/homeodomain fusions, such as NUP98/HOXA9. Comparative gene expression profiling in primary bone marrow cells provided evidence for the presence of common targets in cells expressing NUP98/HOXA9 or NUP98/HHEX. Some of these genes (Hoxa5, Hoxa9, Flt3) are deregulated in NUP98/HHEX-induced murine leukemia as well as in human blasts carrying this fusion and might represent bona fide therapeutic targets.

Raju Bagadi SA, Kaur J, Ralhan R
Establishment and characterisation of two novel breast cancer cell lines.
Cell Biol Int. 2008; 32(1):55-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Two novel oestrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer cell lines, BCa-11 (familial) and BCa-15 (sporadic) were successfully established from primary tumours. Characterisation of these cell lines showed expression of epithelial specific antigen and cytokeratins confirming their epithelial lineage. Analysis of ultrastructure and anchorage independent growth confirmed the epithelial nature and transformed phenotype of these cells. Both cell lines showed loss of pRb, Dab2 and ERalpha and elevated levels of proliferation marker Ki67. In addition, BCa-11 cells showed loss of HOXA5, tumour suppressor genes p16(INK4A) and RARbeta as well as overexpression of CyclinD1. Elevation of DNMT1 and DNMT3B transcript levels, promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A, RARbeta2, and HOXA5 further support their neoplastic origin. In conclusion, the two ERalpha negative breast cancer cell lines established herein have certain useful characteristics that may make them valuable for understanding the mechanism of oestrogen receptor negative breast tumours and testing new drugs.

Chen H, Zhang H, Lee J, et al.
HOXA5 acts directly downstream of retinoic acid receptor beta and contributes to retinoic acid-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition.
Cancer Res. 2007; 67(17):8007-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
The promise of retinoids as chemopreventive agents in breast cancer is based on the differentiation and apoptosis induced upon their binding to the retinoic acid (RA) receptor beta (RARbeta). We have previously shown that HOXA5 induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells. In this study, we investigated whether RA/RARbeta and HOXA5 actions intersect to induce apoptosis and differentiation in breast cancer cells. We found that HOXA5 expression can be induced by RA only in RARbeta-positive breast cancer cells. We have, for the first time, identified the RA response element in HOXA5, which was found to be located in the 3' end of the gene. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that RARbeta binds directly to this region in vivo. Overexpression of RARbeta strongly enhances RA responsiveness, and knocking down RARbeta expression abolishes RA-mediated induction of HOXA5 expression in breast cancer cells. In addition, there is coordinated loss of both HOXA5 and RARbeta expression during neoplastic transformation and progression in the breast epithelial cell model, MCF10A. Knockdown of HOXA5 expression partially abrogates retinoid-induced apoptosis and promotes cell survival upon RA treatment. These results strongly suggest that HOXA5 acts directly downstream of RARbeta and may contribute to retinoid-induced anticancer and chemopreventive effects.

Strathdee G, Holyoake TL, Sim A, et al.
Inactivation of HOXA genes by hypermethylation in myeloid and lymphoid malignancy is frequent and associated with poor prognosis.
Clin Cancer Res. 2007; 13(17):5048-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The HOX genes comprise a large family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors, present in four separate clusters, which are key regulators of embryonic development, hematopoietic differentiation, and leukemogenesis. We aimed to study the role of DNA methylation as an inducer of HOX gene silencing in leukemia.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Three hundred and seventy-eight samples of myeloid and lymphoid leukemia were quantitatively analyzed (by COBRA analysis and pyrosequencing of bisulfite-modified DNA) for methylation of eight HOXA and HOXB cluster genes. The biological significance of the methylation identified was studied by expression analysis and through re-expression of HOXA5 in a chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) blast crisis cell line model.
RESULTS: Here, we identify frequent hypermethylation and gene inactivation of HOXA and HOXB cluster genes in leukemia. In particular, hypermethylation of HOXA4 and HOXA5 was frequently observed (26-79%) in all types of leukemias studied. HOXA6 hypermethylation was predominantly restricted to lymphoid malignancies, whereas hypermethylation of other HOXA and HOXB genes was only observed in childhood leukemia. HOX gene methylation exhibited clear correlations with important clinical variables, most notably in CML, in which hypermethylation of both HOXA5 (P = 0.00002) and HOXA4 (P = 0.006) was strongly correlated with progression to blast crisis. Furthermore, re-expression of HOXA5 in CML blast crisis cells resulted in the induction of markers of granulocytic differentiation.
CONCLUSION: We propose that in addition to the oncogenic role of some HOX family members, other HOX genes are frequent targets for gene inactivation and normally play suppressor roles in leukemia development.

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