Deregulation of the Hox Gene Network and Cancer

  • Clemente Cillo


Although the Hox genes have been identified as master regulatory genes controlling embryonic development, an alternative view on the role of the Hox gene network suggests that it regulates crucial processes at cellular level in eukaryotic organisms. Our working hypothesis considers the Hox network, at the nuclear cell level, as a decoding system for external inductive signals to activate specific genetic programs. We thus identify a cancer as an anomalous structure growing inside the human body and following, from a cellular and architectural viewpoint, the rules controlling body shape during embryonic development. In this chapter we will describe, according to present data, how the Hox gene network acts in specific types of human solid tumours (breast, prostate, bladder, kidney). Furthermore we identify three research areas potentially able to produce, in the near future, important achievements to increase our understanding of (i) the function of the Hox gene network; (ii) the identification of the HOX target genes; (iii) the molecular basis of human cancers.


Prostate Cancer Paralogous Group Clear Cell RCCs Chromosomal Area Human Prostate Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineFederico II University Medical SchoolNaplesItaly

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