Int J Med Sci 2019; 16(1):68-74. doi:10.7150/ijms.27595 This issue

Research Paper

MEOX1 Promotes Tumor Progression and Predicts Poor Prognosis in Human Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Lichao Sun1✉, Hebao Yuan2, Joseph Burnett2, Mari Gasparyan2, Yuan Zhang1, Feng Zhang1, Zhihua Yang1, Yuliang Ran1, Duxin Sun2✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100021, P. R. China
2. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Sun L, Yuan H, Burnett J, Gasparyan M, Zhang Y, Zhang F, Yang Z, Ran Y, Sun D. MEOX1 Promotes Tumor Progression and Predicts Poor Prognosis in Human Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Int J Med Sci 2019; 16(1):68-74. doi:10.7150/ijms.27595. Available from

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Background: MEOX1 is a homeobox transcriptional factor, and plays essential roles in regulating somite development. Our previous study indicated that MEOX1 is a critical molecular target in mesenchymal-like cancer cells in PTEN-deficient Trastuzumab resistant breast cancer. Despite the potential implication of MEOX1 for the cancer progression, no previous studies examined its level and clinical significance in lung cancer tissues. In this study, we aimed to detect the MEOX1 expression and correlate its level with clinical outcome in non-small-cell lung cancer patients (NSCLC).

Methods: MEOX1 gene expression in lung cancer was examined by using the Oncomine database. MEOX1 protein levels were evaluated by IHC using the corresponding primary antibody on two different commercial lung cancer tissue arrays. siRNA knockdown was used to elucidate the function of MEOX1.

Results: Analysis of the Oncomine datasets identified that an elevation of MEOX1 in gene amplification in lung cancer tissues in comparison to normal lung tissues. Immunohistochemistical analysis demonstrated that MEOX1 was localized predominantly in the nucleus, and positive rate was 67.3% (111/165) in NSCLC samples. Statistical analysis revealed high levels of MEOX1 significantly correlated with Lymph Node Metastasis and Stage. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that high levels of MEOX1 were significantly associated with unfavorable survival in NSCLC patients, and MEOX1 nucleus staining had worse survival, than did patients with overall expression in lung squamous cell carcinoma patients. Multivariate Cox's regression analysis found that MEOX1 was an independent poor prognostic predictor for patients with NSCLC. Silencing of MEOX1 by specific SiRNA significantly inhibited H460 and H1299 cell proliferation and sphere formation in serum-free medium.

Conclusions: Our results firstly indentified that high levels of MEOX1 especially nuclear staining was an independent prognostic factor for NSCLC, and it served a essential roles in the regulation of cell proliferation and colony formation in vitro. It may represent a potential target for the NSCLC treatment.

Keywords: lung cancer, MEOX1, prognosis