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Br J Cancer. 2009 Feb 10;100(3):470-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604857. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

HOX transcription factors are potential therapeutic targets in non-small-cell lung cancer (targeting HOX genes in lung cancer).

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  • 1Postgraduate Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey, UK.


The HOX genes are a family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that determine the identity of cells and tissues during embryonic development. They are also known to behave as oncogenes in some haematological malignancies. In this study, we show that the expression of many of the HOX genes is highly elevated in primary non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) and in the derived cell lines A549 and H23. Furthermore, blocking the activity of HOX proteins by interfering with their binding to the PBX co-factor causes these cells to undergo apoptosis in vitro and reduces the growth of A549 tumours in vivo. These findings suggest that the interaction between HOX and PBX proteins is a potential therapeutic target in NSCLC.

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