SOX7: from a developmental regulator to an emerging tumor suppressor

Histol Histopathol. 2014 Apr;29(4):439-45. doi: 10.14670/HH-29.10.439. Epub 2013 Nov 29.


SOX7 belongs to the SOX (SRY-related HMG-box) family of transcription factors that have been shown to regulate multiple biological processes, such as hematopoiesis, vasculogenesis and cardiogenesis during embryonic development. Recent studies indicate that several SOX family members play important roles in tumorigenesis. In this review, we introduce SOX7 gene and protein structures, and discuss its expression and functional role in cancer development and progression. SOX7 is frequently downregulated in many human cancers and its reduced expression correlates with poor prognoses of several cancers. Functional studies reveal many tumor suppressive properties of SOX7 in prostate, colon, lung, and breast cancers. To date, although a few target genes of SOX7 have been identified, SOX7-mediated gene expression has not been investigated in a cancer-relevant context. Our recent studies not only for the first time demonstrate a tumor suppressive role of SOX7 in a xenograft mouse model, but also unravel that many genes regulating cell death, growth and apoptosis are affected by SOX7, strongly supporting a pivotal role of SOX7 in tumorigenesis. Thus, currently available data clearly indicate a tumor suppressive role of SOX7, but the mechanisms underlying its gene expression and tumor suppressive activity remain undetermined. The research of SOX7 in cancers remains a fertile area to be explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • SOXF Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • SOXF Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • SOX7 protein, human
  • SOXF Transcription Factors