Impact of homeobox genes in gastrointestinal cancer

Moon Kyung Joo, Jong Jae Park, Hoon Jai Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Homeobox genes, including HOX and non-HOX genes, have been identified to be expressed aberrantly in solid tumors. In gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, most studies have focused on the function of non-HOX genes including caudal-related homeobox transcription factor 1 (CDX1) and CDX2. CDX2 is a crucial factor in the development of pre-cancerous lesions such as Barrett's esophagus or intestinal metaplasia in the stomach, and its tumor suppressive role has been investigated in colorectal cancers. Recently, several HOX genes were reported to have specific roles in GI cancers; for example, HOXA13 in esophageal squamous cell cancer and HOXB7 in stomach and colorectal cancers. HOXD10 is upregulated in colorectal cancer while it is silenced epigenetically in gastric cancer. Thus, it is essential to examine the differential expression pattern of various homeobox genes in specific tumor types or cell lineages, and understand their underlying mechanisms. In this review, we summarize the available research on homeobox genes and present their potential value for the prediction of prognosis in GI cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8247-8256
Number of pages10
JournalWorld journal of gastroenterology
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 7
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • Caudalrelated homeobox transcription factor 2
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • HOX genes
  • HOXB7
  • Homeobox genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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