The homeobox (HOX) genes have been implicated playing important roles in many human cancers. HOXA13 is a member of HOX genes that encode transcription factors regulating embryonic development and cell fate. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the expression and prognostic significance of HOXA13 in bladder cancer.
Immunohistochemical staining was initially performed to screen the differentially expressed HOXA13 between bladder cancer tissues and paired adjacent non-cancerous tissues. Subsequent Western blotting analysis validation was conducted using tissue samples from patients with bladder cancer.
The expression level of HOXA13 was significantly higher in bladder cancer tissues compared to that in adjacent non-cancerous tissues (P < 0.001). The χ2-test showed that expression of HOXA13 was positively correlated with lymphatic metastasis (P = 0.013), bladder tumor TNM stage (P = 0.002) and pathological grade (P < 0.001). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that patients with bladder cancer with high expression of HOXA13 had shorter overall survival time (P = 0.001) and disease-free survival time (P = 0.001) compared to patients with low expression of HOXA13. Multivariate analysis indicated that HOXA13 was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival for bladder cancer patients.
The results of our study show that high expression of HOXA13 is associated with the progression of bladder cancer and that HOXA13 might serve as a biomarker for prognosis of bladder cancer.