HOXB homeobox gene expression in cervical carcinoma

Int J Gynecol Cancer. Jan-Feb 2006;16(1):329-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1438.2006.00350.x.


The homeobox (HOX) genes are a family of transcription factors that bind to specific DNA sequences in target genes regulating gene expression. Thirty-nine HOX genes have been mapped in four conserved clusters: A, B, C, and D; they act as master genes regulating the identity of body segments along the anteroposterior axis of the embryo. The role played by HOX genes in adult cell differentiation is unclear to date, but growing evidence suggests that they may play an important role in the development of cancer. To study the role played by HOX genes in cervical cancer, in the present work, we analyzed the expression of HOXB genes and the localization of their transcripts in human cervical tissues. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis and nonradioactive RNA in situ hybridization were used to detect HOXB expression in 11 normal cervical tissues and 17 cervical carcinomas. It was determined that HOXB1, B3, B5, B6, B7, B8, and B9 genes are expressed in normal adult cervical epithelium and squamous cervical carcinomas. Interestingly, HOXB2, HOXB4, and HOXB13 gene expression was found only in tumor tissues. Our findings suggest that the new expression of HOXB2, HOXB4, and B13 genes is involved in cervical cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genes, Homeobox / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Reference Values
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vaginal Smears


  • RNA, Messenger