HOXB7 overexpression in lung cancer is a hallmark of acquired stem-like phenotype

Simona Monterisi, Pietro Lo Riso, Karin Russo, Giovanni Bertalot, Manuela Vecchi, Giuseppe Testa, Pier Paolo DI Fiore, Fabrizio Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HOXB7 is a homeodomain (HOX) transcription factor involved in regional body patterning of invertebrates and vertebrates. We previously identified HOXB7 within a ten-gene prognostic signature for lung adenocarcinoma, where increased expression of HOXB7 was associated with poor prognosis. This raises the question of how HOXB7 overexpression can influence the metastatic behavior of lung adenocarcinoma. Here, we analyzed publicly available microarray and RNA-seq lung cancer expression datasets and found that HOXB7-overexpressing tumors are enriched in gene signatures characterizing adult and embryonic stem cells (SC), and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Experimentally, we found that HOXB7 upregulates several canonical SC/iPSC markers and sustains the expansion of a subpopulation of cells with SC characteristics, through modulation of LIN28B, an emerging cancer gene and pluripotency factor, which we discovered to be a direct target of HOXB7. We validated this new circuit by showing that HOXB7 enhances reprogramming to iPSC with comparable efficiency to LIN28B or its target c-MYC, which is a canonical reprogramming factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3575-3588
Number of pages14
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'HOXB7 overexpression in lung cancer is a hallmark of acquired stem-like phenotype'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this