Transcription factor PROX1: its role in development and cancer

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2012 Dec;31(3-4):793-805. doi: 10.1007/s10555-012-9390-8.


The homeobox gene PROX1 is critical for organ development during embryogenesis. The Drosophila homologue, known as prospero has been shown to act as a tumor suppressor by controlling asymmetric cell division of neuroblasts. Likewise, alterations in PROX1 expression and function are associated with a number of human cancers including hematological malignancies, carcinomas of the pancreas, liver and the biliary system, sporadic breast cancer, Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma, colon cancer, and brain tumors. PROX1 is involved in cancer development and progression and has been ascribed both tumor suppressive and oncogenic properties in a variety of different cancer types. However, the exact mechanisms through which PROX1 regulates proliferation, migration, and invasion of cancer cells are by large unknown. This review provides an update on the role of PROX1 in organ development and on its emerging functions in cancer, with special emphasis on the central nervous system and glial brain tumors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Eye / embryology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / chemistry
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / embryology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / chemistry
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • pros protein, Drosophila
  • prospero-related homeobox 1 protein