A subgroup of HOX Abd-B gene is differentially expressed in cervical cancer

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The HOX genes are a family of transcription factors that bind to specific sequences of DNA in target genes regulating their expression. The role of HOX genes in adult cell differentiation is still obscure, but growing evidence suggests that they may play an important role in the development of cancer. In order to study the role of the HOX Abd-B genes in cervical cancer, we analyzed their expression in cervical tissues. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and RNA in situ hybridization were used to detect HOX Abd-B messenger RNA expression in nine normal cervical tissues and ten cervical carcinomas. The normal tissues were human papillomavirus (HPV) negative, whereas all invasive carcinomas included were HPV16 positive. In this study, we show that HOXA9, A10, A11, A13, B9, D11, and D13 genes are expressed in both the epithelium of normal tissues and neoplastic cells from squamous cervical carcinomas. Interestingly, the HOXC10 and D12 genes were not expressed in any cervical tissues; however, HOXB13, C9, C11, C12, C13, D9, and D10 genes were expressed only in the tumoral tissues but not in the normal cervix. Our findings suggest that the expression of HOXB13, D9, D10, and HOXC cluster (HOXC9, C11–C13) genes might be an important step involved in cervical cancer.

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