The critical role and regulation of transcription factor FoxM1 in gastric cancer development and progression

Qiang Li, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The mammalian Forkhead Box (Fox) transcription factor (FoxM1) is implicated in tumorgenesis. However, the role and regulation of FoxM1 in gastric cancer remain unknown. I examined FoxM1 expression in 86 cases of primary gastric cancer and 57 normal gastric tissue specimens. I found weak expression of FoxM1 protein in normal gastric mucosa, whereas I observed strong staining for FoxM1 in tumor-cell nuclei in various gastric tumors and lymph node metastases. The aberrant FoxM1 expression is associated with VEGF expression and increased angiogenesis in human gastric cancer. A Cox proportional hazards model revealed that FoxM1 expression was an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis. Furthermore, overexpression of FoxM1 by gene transfer significantly promoted the growth and metastasis of gastric cancer cells in orthotopic mouse models, whereas knockdown of FoxM1 expression by small interfering RNA did the opposite. Next, I observed that alteration of tumor growth and metastasis by elevated FoxM1 expression was directly correlated with alteration of VEGF expression and angiogenesis. In addition, promotion of gastric tumorigenesis by FoxM1 directly and significantly correlated with transactivation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and elevation of angiogenesis. To further investigate the underlying mechanisms that result in FoxM1 overexpression in gastric cancer, I investigated FoxM1 and Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) expressions in primary gastric cancer and normal gastric tissue specimens. Concomitance of increased expression of FoxM1 protein and decreased expression of KLF4 protein was evident in human gastric cancer. Enforced KLF4 expression suppressed FoxM1 protein expression. Moreover, a region within the proximal FoxM1 promoter was identified to have KLF4-binding sites. Finally, I found an increased FoxM1 expression in gastric mucosa of villin-Cre -directed tissue specific Klf4-null mice. In summary, I offered both clinical and mechanistic evidence that dysregulated expression of FoxM1 play an important role in gastric cancer development and progression, while KLF4 mediates negative regulation of FoxM1 expression and its loss significantly contributes to FoxM1 dysregulation.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Li, Qiang, "The critical role and regulation of transcription factor FoxM1 in gastric cancer development and progression" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3358129.