Switch in FOXA1 status associates with endometrial cancer progression
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: The transcription factor Forkhead box A1 (FOXA1) is suggested to be important in hormone dependent cancers, although with little data for endometrial cancer. We investigated expression levels of FOXA1 in primary and metastatic endometrial cancer in relation to clinical phenotype, and transcriptional alterations related to FOXA1 status. Methods: Protein expression of FOXA1 was explored by immunohistochemistry in 529 primary and 199 metastatic endometrial carcinoma lesions. mRNA levels from corresponding 158 fresh frozen primary and 42 metastatic lesions were analyzed using Agilent Microarrays (44k) in parallel. Results: Low FOXA1 protein expression in primary tumors significantly correlated with low FOXA1 mRNA, high age, non-endometrioid histology, high grade, loss of ERα and PR and poor survival (all p-values <0.05). Through a Connectivity Map search, HDAC inhibitors were suggested as potential treatment for patients with low FOXA1 expression. An increase in FOXA1 expression was observed from primary to metastatic lesions and it correlated with CDKN2A expression in metastases. Conclusion: Low FOXA1 is associated with poor survival and suggests a potential for HDAC inhibitors in endometrial carcinoma. A switch in FOXA1 expression from primary to metastatic lesions is observed and gene expression indicates a link between FOXA1 and CDKN2A in metastatic lesions.