Next Article in Journal
Expanding the Role of the Histone Lysine-Specific Demethylase LSD1 in Cancer
Next Article in Special Issue
Kinase Regulation of HOX Transcription Factors
Previous Article in Journal
The Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid Type-2 (TRPV2) Ion Channels in Neurogenesis and Gliomagenesis: Cross-Talk between Transcription Factors and Signaling Molecules
Previous Article in Special Issue
Anatomic Origin of Osteochondrogenic Progenitors Impacts Sensitivity to EWS-FLI1-Induced Transformation
Article Menu
Issue 3 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview

The Enigmatic HOX Genes: Can We Crack Their Code?

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2019, 11(3), 323;
Received: 2 February 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HOX Genes in Cancer)
PDF [1537 KB, uploaded 7 March 2019]


Homeobox genes (HOX) are a large family of transcription factors that direct the formation of many body structures during early embryonic development. There are 39 genes in the subgroup of homeobox genes that constitute the human HOX gene family. Correct embryonic development of flies and vertebrates is, in part, mediated by the unique and highly regulated expression pattern of the HOX genes. Disruptions in these fine-tuned regulatory mechanisms can lead to developmental problems and to human diseases such as cancer. Unfortunately, the molecular mechanisms of action of the HOX family of transcription factors are severely under-studied, likely due to idiosyncratic details of their structure, expression, and function. We suggest that a concerted and collaborative effort to identify interacting protein partners, produce genome-wide binding profiles, and develop HOX network inhibitors in a variety of human cell types will lead to a deeper understanding of human development and disease. Within, we review the technological challenges and possible approaches needed to achieve this goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: HOX; ChIP-seq; cancer biomarkers; targeted therapy HOX; ChIP-seq; cancer biomarkers; targeted therapy

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Luo, Z.; Rhie, S.K.; Farnham, P.J. The Enigmatic HOX Genes: Can We Crack Their Code? Cancers 2019, 11, 323.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Cancers EISSN 2072-6694 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top