High FoxP3 expression in tumour cells predicts better survival in gastric cancer and its role in tumour microenvironment
The X-linked Foxp3 is a member of the forkhead/winged helix transcription factor family. Germline mutations cause lethal autoimmune diseases in males. Serendipitously, we observed that female mice heterozygous for the "scurfin" mutation of the Foxp3 gene (Foxp3(sf/+)) developed cancer at a high rate. The majority of the cancers were mammary carcinomas in which the wild-type Foxp3 allele was inactivated and HER-2/ErbB2 was overexpressed. Foxp3 bound and repressed the HER-2/ErbB2 promoter. Deletion, functionally significant somatic mutations, and downregulation of the FOXP3 gene were commonly found in human breast cancer samples and correlated significantly with HER-2/ErbB2 overexpression, regardless of the status of HER-2 amplification. Our data demonstrate that FOXP3 is an X-linked breast cancer suppressor gene and an important regulator of the HER-2/ErbB2 oncogene.