Homeobox B8 Targets Sterile Alpha Motif Domain-Containing Protein 9 and Drives Glioma Progression

Wenping Ma 1,2,3 • Hongze Jin4 • Wenjie Liu5 • Xiaojuan Li6 • Xingang Zhou7 • Xinwu Guo8 • Runfa Tian2 • Qi Cui1 • Junjie Luo1 • Yueying Jiao1 • Youtao Yu9 • Haifeng Yang10 • Hongshan Zhao 1

1 Department of Medical Genetics, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, China

3 Beijing Neurosurgical Institute, Beijing 100050, China

4 The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Changxing Campus, Changxing 313100, China


Gliomas are the most commonly occurring tumors of the central nervous system. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant and aggressive brain cancer in adults. Further understanding of the mechanisms underlying the aggressive nature of GBM is urgently needed. Here we identified homeobox B8 (HOXB8), a member of the homeobox family, as a crucial contributor to the aggressiveness of GBM. Data mining of publicly accessible RNA sequence datasets and our patient cohorts confirmed a higher expression of HOXB8 in the tumor tissue of GBM patients, and a strong positive correlation between the expression level and pathological grading of tumors and a negative correlation between the expression level and the overall survival rate. We next showed that HOXB8 promotes the proliferation and migration of glioblastoma cells and is crucial for the activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway and expression of epithelial–mesenchymal transition-related genes, possibly through direct binding to the promoter of SAMD9 (Sterile Alpha Motif Domain-Containing Protein 9) and activating its transcription. Collectively, we identified HOXB8 as a critical contributor to the aggressiveness of GBM, which provides insights into a potential therapeutic target for GBM and opens new avenues for improving its treatment outcome.


HOXB8; Glioma; Aggressiveness; SAMD9; Treatment


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