1. Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
2. Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
3. Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
4. Department of Medical Education and Research, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Genes of the homeobox (HOX) family encode transcription factors, which play a role in cancer progression. However, their role in gastric cancer has not been adequately evaluated. Herein, we evaluated the genetic changes and mRNA of target genes of the HOX family in gastric cancer patients using publicly available online datasets. We found that HOXC8 was amplified in gastric cancer tissues, and mRNA expression levels were significantly associated with tumor status (P=0.044) and poor overall survival (P<0.01). HOXC8 knockdown significantly reduced the viability of gastric cancer cell lines. HOXC8 modulated the expression of secreted phosphoprotein 1 (SPP1, osteopontin) and phosphorylation of AKT/ERK in gastric cancer cells. Survival analysis demonstrated a decrease in overall survival rates among the high HOXC8/high SPP1 expression group compared with the low HOXC8/low SPP1 expression group. In conclusion, HOXC8 may be an independent prognostic factor and serve as a useful predictive biomarker for gastric cancer.
Keywords: HOXC8, osteopontin, SPP1, and gastric cancer