FOXA1 as a therapeutic target for breast cancer

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53 Scopus citations


Gene expression profiling studies have classified breast cancer into five intrinsic subtypes with distinct prognostic significance: luminal type A, luminal type B, normal-like, HER-2-positive and basal type. These studies have also uncovered novel diagnostic markers and molecular targets. FOXA1, a winged-helix transcription factor belonging to the forkhead family, is one among them as it is expressed predominantly in luminal type A breast cancer, which is characterized by the presence of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) with favorable prognosis. FOXA1 is a 'pioneer' factor that binds to chromatinized DNA, opens the chromatin and enhances binding of ERα to its target genes. It is essential for the expression of ∼ 50% of ERα:estrogen-regulated genes. Thus, a network comprising FOXA1, ERα and estrogen constitutes a major proliferation and survival signal for luminal type A breast cancer. However, by controlling differentiation and by regulating the expression of cell cycle inhibitor p27kip1 and the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin, FOXA1 may prevent metastatic progression of luminal type A breast cancer. This article reviews possible roles of FOXA family transcription factors in breast cancer initiation, hormone dependency and speculates on the potential of FOXA1 as a therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Breast cancer
  • Estrogen receptor
  • FOXA1
  • Luminal type A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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