New insights to the clinical implication of HOXA5 as prognostic biomarker in patients with colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Cancer Biomark. 2020 Oct 23. doi: 10.3233/CBM-201758. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Homeobox A5 (HOXA5) is a member of the HOX protein family which is involved in several pathways of carcinogenesis, and is dysregulated in many types of cancers. However, its expression and function in human colorectal cancer (CRC) is still largely unknown.

OBJECTIVE: This study, aimed to evaluate HOXA5 expression in Tunisian patients with CRC in order to define new potential biomarker.

METHODS: An immunohistochemical study using an HOXA5 antibody was performed on 85 formalin fixed paraffin embedded specimens from patients with CRC. Six normal colon mucosa cases were used as controls.

RESULTS: HOXA5 expression showed a cytoplasmic staining in both tumor and stromal/endothelial cells. Loss or low HOXA5 expression was seen in tumor cells in 74/85 cases (87.06%) and in stromal/endothelial cells, in 77/85 (90.59%). In control group of normal colon mucosa HOXA5 was moderately expressed in all the cases. The abnormal expression, was significantly associated to lymph nodes metastasis in tumor cells (p= 0.043) and in stromal/endothelial cells (p= 0.024).

CONCLUSION: In our series, HOXA5 immunostaining suggests the valuable role of this protein in colorectal carcinogenesis. Moreover, the association of lymph node metastasis to HOXA5 abnormal expression underlies its crucial role in colorectal cancer dissemination and prognosis.