The metazoan-specific POU domain transcription factor family comprises activities underpinning developmental processes such as embryonic pluripotency and neuronal specification. Some POU family proteins efficiently bind an 8-bp DNA element known as the octamer motif. These proteins are known as Oct transcription factors. Oct1/POU2F1 is the only widely expressed POU factor. Unlike other POU factors it controls no specific developmental or organ system. Oct1 was originally described to operate at target genes associated with proliferation and immune modulation, but more recent results additionally identify targets associated with oxidative and cytotoxic stress resistance, metabolic regulation, stem cell function and other unexpected processes. Oct1 is pro-oncogenic in multiple contexts, and several recent reports provide broad evidence that Oct1 has prognostic and therapeutic value in multiple epithelial tumor settings. This review focuses on established and emerging roles of Oct1 in epithelial tumors, with an emphasis on mechanisms of transcription regulation by Oct1 that may underpin these findings. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The Oct Transcription Factor Family, edited by Dr. Dean Tantin.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Cervical cancer; Colorectal cancer; Gastric cancer; Jmjd1a/KDM3A; Lung adenocarcinoma; NuRD; Oct1/POU2F1; Prostate cancer; Thyroid cancer.
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