RUNX3 functions as an oncogene in ovarian cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2011 Aug;122(2):410-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.04.044. Epub 2011 May 25.


Objective: The Runt domain transcription factor, RUNX3, has been shown to be a tumor suppressor in a variety of cancers including gastric, colon and breast cancer. Interestingly, an oncogenic role for RUNX3 has also been suggested in basal cell carcinoma and head and neck cancer. Here, we explore the role of RUNX3 in ovarian cancer.

Methods: Expression of RUNX3 mRNA and protein was evaluated in human ovarian cancer cell lines. In addition, subcellular localization of RUNX3 was also examined in cell lines and ovarian cancer tissues. Effect of exogenous RUNX3 expression and knockdown on cell proliferation was investigated by proliferation assays and a soft agar assay.

Results: Expression of RUNX3 was detected in the nucleus of ovarian cancer cell lines and ovarian cancer tissues and was found to play a growth stimulatory role. RUNX3 knockdown resulted in a decrease in cell proliferation in liquid media as well as in soft agar. Despite the fact that exogenous expression of RUNX3 strongly inhibits cell growth in many cell types, RUNX3 promoted cell growth in ovarian cancer cell lines not expressing RUNX3.

Conclusion: RUNX3 is frequently expressed in the nuclei of ovarian cancer cell lines and plays an oncogenic role in ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit / genetics
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Oncogenes*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology


  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit
  • Runx3 protein, human