Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 31, Issue 3–4, pp 793–805 | Cite as

Transcription factor PROX1: its role in development and cancer

  • Tamador ElsirEmail author
  • Anja Smits
  • Mikael S. Lindström
  • Monica Nistér


The homeobox gene PROX1 is critical for organ development during embryogenesis. The Drosophila homologue, known as prospero has been shown to act as a tumor suppressor by controlling asymmetric cell division of neuroblasts. Likewise, alterations in PROX1 expression and function are associated with a number of human cancers including hematological malignancies, carcinomas of the pancreas, liver and the biliary system, sporadic breast cancer, Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma, colon cancer, and brain tumors. PROX1 is involved in cancer development and progression and has been ascribed both tumor suppressive and oncogenic properties in a variety of different cancer types. However, the exact mechanisms through which PROX1 regulates proliferation, migration, and invasion of cancer cells are by large unknown. This review provides an update on the role of PROX1 in organ development and on its emerging functions in cancer, with special emphasis on the central nervous system and glial brain tumors.


PROX1 Transcription factor Cancer Embryonic development Glioma 



This work has been supported by funds from the King Gustav V Jubilee Fund, Stockholm (MN and AS), the Swedish Cancer Society (MN), and the Swedish Research Council (MN), including the VR-Linné (STARGET) fund. TE is currently supported by a postdoc stipendium from the Medical Faculty, Uppsala University.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest related to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamador Elsir
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anja Smits
    • 2
  • Mikael S. Lindström
    • 1
  • Monica Nistér
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oncology-PathologyKarolinska Institutet, CCK R8:05, Karolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience, NeurologyUppsala University, University Hospital UppsalaUppsalaSweden

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