Homeobox-containing genes are a family of regulatory genes encoding transcription factors that primarily play a crucial role during development. Several indications suggest their involvement in the control of cell growth and, when dysregulated, in oncogenesis. We will describe the implications, in tumor origin and evolution, of members of the homeobox gene families HOX, EMX, PAX, and MSX as well as of other divergent homeobox genes. We will also propose a model for the function of the HOX gene network in controlling cell identity to account for the involvement of some HOX genes in both normal development and oncogenesis.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.