Immunocytochemical detection of the homeobox B3, B4, and C6 gene products in childhood medulloblastomas/primitive neuroectodermal tumors.


The homeobox was originally described as a conserved DNA motif of about 180 base pairs. The protein domain encoded by the homeobox, the homeodomain, is thus about 60 amino acids long. The homeodomain is a DNA-binding domain, and many homeobox genes have now been shown to bind to DNA and regulate the transcription of other genes. Thus homeodomain proteins are basically transcription factors, most of which play a role in development. The homeobox genes seem to represent another class of oncofetal antigens involved in both normal development and carcinogenesis, as well as tumor progression. It has been shown that HOX-B3 and HOX-B4 are preferentially expressed in primitive CD34+, lineage-committed hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in human bone marrow. HOX-B3 overexpression in HSCs causes defective lymphoid development and progressive myeloproliferation, while HOX-B4 leads to selective expansion of HSCs without altering their differentiation. The HOX-C6 gene product leads to cell differentiation in neuroblastomas, while also being associated with the neoplastically transformed mammary cell phenotype and progression in primary cutaneous lymphomas. The expression pattern of these three homeobox gene products (HOX-B3, HOX-B4, and HOX-C6) was examined immunocytochemically in childhood MEDs/PNETs employing an indirect alkaline phosphatase conjugated technique on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Strong staining intensity (A, B) of HOX-B3 and HOX-B4 was registered in all MEDs/PNETs, with immunoreactivity in between 50% and 90% (+3), but usually over 90% (+4) of the tumor cells. HOX-C6 was detected at medium intensity (mostly B) in 50% to 90% (+3) of the MED/PNET cells. This report is the first to describe the expression of these three homeobox gene products in MEDs/PNETs, and provides further evidence for the role of these proteins in the progression of human malignancies. The value of these genes and proteins in the early diagnosis and possible treatment of various human neoplasms, including childhood brain tumors, should be assessed in further immunocytochemical and molecular biological experiments.

Cite this paper

@article{Bodey2000ImmunocytochemicalDO, title={Immunocytochemical detection of the homeobox B3, B4, and C6 gene products in childhood medulloblastomas/primitive neuroectodermal tumors.}, author={Bela Bodey and Stuart E. Siegel and Hans E. Kaiser}, journal={Anticancer research}, year={2000}, volume={20 3A}, pages={1769-80} }