Urinary bladder cancer is a common malignancy in industrialized countries. More than 90% of bladder cancer originates in the transitional cells. Bladder transitional cancer prognosis is, according to the most recent definition related to the level of tumor infiltration, characterized
by two main phenotypes, Non Muscle Invasive Bladder Transitional Cancer (NMIBC) and Muscle Invasive Bladder Transitional Cancer (MIBC). The genetic profile and the clinical course of the two subtypes are completely different, however among NMIBC the prognosis is not completely predictable,
since 20% of the cases experience a relapse, even in the form of MIBC. It has recently been reported that the chromosomal region 12q13-15, containing crucial cancer genes such as MDM2, CDK4, GLI and an entire cluster of HOX genes, is amplified in bladder cancer. HOX genes codify for
transcriptionl factor, involved in embryonal development and cancer progression, with main nuclear expression. Particularly it was also described the strong involvement of HOX B13 in several tumors of urogenital system. In this study we have been investigated, by immunohistochemisty and quantitative
Real Time PCR, the HOX B13 expression in bladder cancer evolution and progression, evaluating its ability to discriminate between NMIBC and MBCI phenotypes. Cytoplasmic HOX B13 delocalization significantly relates with muscle invasion (p 0.004). In addition in the series of NMIBC nuclear HOX
B13 expression loss is significantly associated to shorter disease free survival (p-value=0.038) defining a potential prognostic role. Overexpression of HOX B13 in more aggressive phenotype is also demonstrate at gene level by quantitative RT-PCR. The de-regulation and delocalization
of HOX B13 in urinary bladder cancer supports again the important role of HOX genes in tumor evolution and represents a starting point to establish an integrated analysis, in which HOX genes represent important prognostic and predictive markers for bladder cancer.
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