A serologically identified tumor antigen encoded by a homeobox gene promotes growth of ovarian epithelial cells

Honami Naora, YanQin Yang, Fredrick J. Montz, Jeffrey D. Seidman, Robert J Kurman, Richard S Roden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ovarian carcinomas are thought to arise from cells of the ovarian surface epithelium by mechanisms that are poorly understood. Molecules associated with neoplasia are potentially immunogenic, but few ovarian tumor antigens have been identified. Because ovarian carcinomas can elicit humoral responses in patients, we searched for novel tumor antigens by immunoscreening a cDNA expression library with ovarian cancer patient serum. Seven clones corresponding to the homeobox gene HOXB7 were isolated. ELISAs using purified recombinant HOXB7 protein revealed significant serologic reactivity to HOXB7 in 13 of 39 ovarian cancer patients and in only one of 29 healthy women (P <0.0001). Ovarian carcinomas were found to express HOXB7 at markedly higher levels than normal ovarian surface epithelium, suggesting that immunogenicity of HOXB7 in patients could be associated with its elevated expression in ovarian carcinomas. Overexpression of HOXB7 in immortalized normal ovarian surface epithelial cells dramatically enhanced cellular proliferation. Furthermore, HOXB7 overexpression increased intracellular accumulation and secretion of basic fibroblast growth factor, a potent angiogenic and mitogenic factor. These results reveal HOXB7 as a tumor antigen whose up-expression could play a significant role in promoting growth and development of ovarian carcinomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4060-4065
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

Cite this