Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 155–163 | Cite as

Expression of HOXD3 correlates with shorter survival in patients with invasive breast cancer

  • Cheng Shaoqiang
  • Zhang Yue
  • Liu Yang
  • Zhao Hong
  • Zhen Lina
  • Pang DaEmail author
  • Zhang QingyuanEmail author
Research Paper


Hox genes encode a family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that determine cellular identity during development and which are also expressed in some types of cancer. The HOXD3 gene, a member of the Hox gene family, has been demonstrated to be expressed in several tumor cell lines, which exhibit enhanced invasion and metastasis through coordinate expression of metastasis-associated factors. However, the clinical impact of HOXD3 in breast cancer remains unclear. In the current study, we examined the expression of HOXD3 and integrin β3 by immunohistochemical staining in patients with invasive breast cancer. We found that HOXD3 expression was significantly frequent in high histopathological grade and hormone-receptor negative breast cancer patients. The expression of HOXD3 was closely associated with integrin β3 expression. Furthermore, patients with high HOXD3 expression levels in their breast tumors had significantly shorter survival times than patients in which HOXD3 was weakly expressed in breast tumors. Univariate and multivariate analyses confirmed that increased HOXD3-expression was an independent and significant factor in predicting poor prognosis for patients with breast cancer. In conclusion, HOXD3 expression is a significant unfavorable prognostic factor for patients with invasive breast cancer and as such is a potentially useful prognostic marker for breast cancer.


HOXD3 Integrin β3 Breast cancer Hormone-receptor negative Survival 



Matrix metalloproteinase


World Health Organization


Disease-free survival


Overall survival



The study was supported by Nature Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province (C160403).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Breast SurgeryThe Third Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical UniversityHarbinChina
  2. 2.Department of Medical OncologyThe Third Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical UniversityHarbinChina

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