Gene Summary

Gene:PAX7; paired box 7
Aliases: HUP1, RMS2, PAX7B
Summary:This gene is a member of the paired box (PAX) family of transcription factors. Members of this gene family typically contain a paired box domain, an octapeptide, and a paired-type homeodomain. These genes play critical roles during fetal development and cancer growth. The specific function of the paired box 7 gene is unknown but speculated to involve tumor suppression since fusion of this gene with a forkhead domain family member has been associated with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Three transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:paired box protein Pax-7
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (15)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: PAX7 (cancer-related)

Cortes Barrantes P, Jakobiec FA, Dryja TP
A Review of the Role of Cytogenetics in the Diagnosis of Orbital Rhabdomyosarcoma.
Semin Ophthalmol. 2019; 34(4):243-251 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common sarcoma of childhood and adolescence. Approximately 10% arise in the orbit, where the embryonal type is most common variant. The alveolar variant is less frequent and has a worse prognosis. Cytogenetic studies have revealed that most alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas have translocations involving the PAX and the FOX01 genes, giving rise to fusion genes that contribute to lack of differentiation and proliferation of the tumor cells. However, approximately 20% of alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas lack translocations and have been found to behave more similarly to embryonal cases. Histopathology remains the basis of diagnosis, but cytogenetic features and molecular signatures are becoming part of the routine analysis of RMS, since they determine not only prognosis, but also management and treatment regimens. A comprehensive review of the recent published literature in relation to orbital rhabdomyosarcomas and their cytogenetic features as well as clinical and therapeutic implications will be discussed.

Toki S, Wakai S, Sekimizu M, et al.
PAX7 immunohistochemical evaluation of Ewing sarcoma and other small round cell tumours.
Histopathology. 2018; 73(4):645-652 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Ewing sarcoma is a small round cell tumour that affects bone and soft tissues. Although the detection of the specific fusion gene is a robust method of its diagnosis, immunohistochemistry may serve as a practical surrogate. Recent tissue microarray studies suggested that PAX7 is a novel marker, because it was expressed consistently in Ewing sarcoma, in addition to rhabdomyosarcoma and synovial sarcoma. Here, we evaluated the utility of PAX7 immunohistochemistry in whole-tissue sections of an expanded array of round cell malignancies with adequate molecular characterisation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We stained 30 molecularly confirmed Ewing sarcomas, one EWSR1-NFATC2 sarcoma and 141 non-Ewing round cell tumours by a monoclonal antibody against PAX7. Staining was considered positive if at least 5% of tumour cells were stained. PAX7 was expressed in 27 of 30 Ewing sarcomas (90%), mainly in a diffuse and strong manner. Although NKX2-2 showed similar sensitivity, PAX7 showed more extensive and strong reactivity. One EWSR1-NFATC2 sarcoma co-expressed PAX7 and NKX2-2. PAX7 was also expressed in 24 of 141 non-Ewing tumours, including alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (seven of 10), poorly differentiated synovial sarcomas (seven of 10), BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas (eight of 10), small-cell osteosarcoma (one of five) and desmoplastic small round cell tumour (one of 10), one-third of which showed diffuse strong reactivity.
CONCLUSIONS: Although we confirmed that PAX7 is a sensitive marker for Ewing sarcoma, anti-PAX7 antibody also stained several Ewing sarcoma mimics, whose spectrum was distinct from NKX2-2-positive non-Ewing entities. Further studies are required to determine how PAX7 could be integrated into practice to classify small round cell tumours efficiently.

Hanna JA, Garcia MR, Lardennois A, et al.
PAX3-FOXO1 drives miR-486-5p and represses miR-221 contributing to pathogenesis of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(15):1991-2007 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in childhood and histologically resembles developing skeletal muscle. Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) is an aggressive subtype with a higher rate of metastasis and poorer prognosis. The majority of ARMS tumors (80%) harbor a PAX3-FOXO1 or less commonly a PAX7-FOXO1 fusion gene. The presence of either the PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1 fusion gene foretells a poorer prognosis resulting in clinical re-classification as either fusion-positive (FP-RMS) or fusion-negative RMS (FN-RMS). The PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion genes result in the production of a rogue transcription factors that drive FP-RMS pathogenesis and block myogenic differentiation. Despite knowing the molecular driver of FP-RMS, targeted therapies have yet to make an impact for patients, highlighting the need for a greater understanding of the molecular consequences of PAX3-FOXO1 and its target genes including microRNAs. Here we show FP-RMS patient-derived xenografts and cell lines display a distinct microRNA expression pattern. We utilized both loss- and gain-of function approaches in human cell lines with knockdown of PAX3-FOXO1 in FP-RMS cell lines and expression of PAX3-FOXO1 in human myoblasts and identified microRNAs both positively and negatively regulated by the PAX3-FOXO1 fusion protein. We demonstrate PAX3-FOXO1 represses miR-221/222 that functions as a tumor suppressing microRNA through the negative regulation of CCND2, CDK6, and ERBB3. In contrast, miR-486-5p is transcriptionally activated by PAX3-FOXO1 and promotes FP-RMS proliferation, invasion, and clonogenic growth. Inhibition of miR-486-5p in FP-RMS xenografts decreased tumor growth, illustrating a proof of principle for future therapeutic intervention. Therefore, PAX3-FOXO1 regulates key microRNAs that may represent novel therapeutic vulnerabilities in FP-RMS.

Wang R, Bhat-Nakshatri P, Padua MB, et al.
Pharmacological Dual Inhibition of Tumor and Tumor-Induced Functional Limitations in a Transgenic Model of Breast Cancer.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2017; 16(12):2747-2758 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer progression is associated with systemic effects, including functional limitations and sarcopenia without the appearance of overt cachexia. Autocrine/paracrine actions of cytokines/chemokines produced by cancer cells mediate cancer progression and functional limitations. The cytokine-inducible transcription factor NF-κB could be central to this process, as it displays oncogenic functions and is integral to the Pax7:MyoD:Pgc-1β:miR-486 myogenesis axis. We tested this possibility using the MMTV-PyMT transgenic mammary tumor model and the NF-κB inhibitor dimethylaminoparthenolide (DMAPT). We observed deteriorating physical and functional conditions in PyMT

Arbajian E, Köster J, Vult von Steyern F, Mertens F
Inflammatory leiomyosarcoma is a distinct tumor characterized by near-haploidization, few somatic mutations, and a primitive myogenic gene expression signature.
Mod Pathol. 2018; 31(1):93-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inflammatory leiomyosarcoma is a soft-tissue tumor resembling conventional leiomyosarcoma, but with a prominent intrinsic inflammatory component. Previous studies have suggested that inflammatory leiomyosarcoma differs genetically from leiomyosarcoma, but in-depth analyses are lacking. Here we provide a comprehensive picture of the genome and transcriptome of inflammatory leiomyosarcoma by combining cytogenetic, single-nucleotide polymorphism array, mRNA-sequencing, and whole-exome sequencing data. The results show that inflammatory leiomyosarcoma has a specific genetic profile characterized by near-haploidization with or without subsequent whole-genome doubling. Consistently, both parental copies of chromosomes 5 and 22 are preserved. Apart from recurrent mutation of the NF1 gene, additional somatic events that could serve as driver mutations were not found at either the nucleotide or the genome level. Furthermore, no fusion transcripts were identified. Global gene expression profiling revealed particularly prominent differential expression of genes, including ITGA7, MYF5, MYF6, MYOD1, MYOG, and PAX7, involved in muscle development and function, providing strong argument for grouping inflammatory leiomyosarcoma with myogenic sarcomas, rather than with myofibroblastic lesions. Combined with previously published data, there are now 10 cases of inflammatory leiomyosarcoma with confirmed near-haploid genotype. These patients differ from leiomyosarcoma patients in being younger (median 41 years), showing a male predominance (9:1), and few relapses (1 of 8 informative patients). Thus, the clinical, morphological, and genetic data provide compelling support for inflammatory leiomyosarcoma being a distinct subtype of myogenic tumors.

Cleary MM, Mansoor A, Settelmeyer T, et al.
NFκB signaling in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Dis Model Mech. 2017; 10(9):1109-1115 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (aRMS) is a pediatric soft tissue cancer commonly associated with a chromosomal translocation that leads to the expression of a Pax3:Foxo1 or Pax7:Foxo1 fusion protein, the developmental underpinnings of which may give clues to its therapeutic approaches. In aRMS, the NFκB-YY1-miR-29 regulatory circuit is dysregulated, resulting in repression of

Charville GW, Wang WL, Ingram DR, et al.
EWSR1 fusion proteins mediate PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma.
Mod Pathol. 2017; 30(9):1312-1320 [PubMed] Related Publications
PAX7 is a paired-box transcription factor that is required for the developmental specification of adult skeletal muscle progenitors in mice. We previously demonstrated PAX7 expression as a marker of skeletal muscle differentiation in rhabdomyosarcoma. Here, using analyses of published whole-genome gene expression microarray data, we identify PAX7 as a gene with significantly increased expression in Ewing sarcoma in comparison to CIC-DUX4 round cell sarcoma. Analysis of PAX7 in a large cohort of 103 Ewing sarcoma cases by immunohistochemistry revealed expression in 99.0% of cases (102/103). PAX7 expression was noted in cases demonstrating three distinct Ewing sarcoma EWSR1 translocations involving FLI1, ERG, and NFATc2. No PAX7 expression was observed in any of 27 cases of CIC-DUX4 sarcoma by immunohistochemistry (0%; 0/27). Exploring the mechanism of PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma using curated RNA- and ChIP-sequencing data, we demonstrate that the EWSR1 fusion protein is required for PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma and identify a candidate EWSR1-FLI1-bound PAX7 enhancer that coincides with both a consensus GGAA repeat-containing binding site and a peak of regulatory H3K27 acetylation. Taken together, our findings provide mechanistic support for the utility of PAX7 immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, while linking this sarcoma of uncertain histogenesis to a key transcriptional regulator of mammalian muscle progenitor cells.

Busse TM, Roth JJ, Wilmoth D, et al.
Copy number alterations determined by single nucleotide polymorphism array testing in the clinical laboratory are indicative of gene fusions in pediatric cancer patients.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(10):730-749 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene fusions resulting from structural rearrangements are an established mechanism of tumorigenesis in pediatric cancer. In this clinical cohort, 1,350 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based chromosomal microarrays from 1,211 pediatric cancer patients were evaluated for copy number alterations (CNAs) associated with gene fusions. Karyotype or fluorescence in situ hybridization studies were performed in 42% of the patients. Ten percent of the bone marrow or solid tumor specimens had SNP array-associated CNAs suggestive of a gene fusion. Alterations involving ETV6, ABL1-NUP214, EBF1-PDGFRB, KMT2A(MLL), LMO2-RAG, MYH11-CBFB, NSD1-NUP98, PBX1, STIL-TAL1, ZNF384-TCF3, P2RY8-CRLF2, and RUNX1T1-RUNX1 fusions were detected in the bone marrow samples. The most common alteration among the low-grade gliomas was a 7q34 tandem duplication resulting in a KIAA1549-BRAF fusion. Additional fusions identified in the pediatric brain tumors included FAM131B-BRAF and RAF1-QKI. COL1A1-PDGFB, CRTC1-MAML2, EWSR1, HEY1, PAX3- and PAX7-FOXO1, and PLAG1 fusions were determined in a variety of solid tumors and a novel potential gene fusion, FGFR1-USP6, was detected in an aneurysmal bone cyst. The identification of these gene fusions was instrumental in tumor diagnosis. In contrast to hematologic and solid tumors in adults that are predominantly driven by mutations, the majority of hematologic and solid tumors in children are characterized by CNAs and gene fusions. Chromosomal microarray analysis is therefore a robust platform to identify diagnostic and prognostic markers in the clinical setting.

Karunamurthy A, Hoffner L, Hu J, et al.
Genomic Characterization of a Metastatic Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma Case Using FISH Studies and CGH+SNP Microarray Revealing FOXO1-PAX7 Rearrangement with MYCN and MDM2 Amplification and RB1 Region Loss.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2016; 150(3-4):253-261 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) are rare, heterogeneous, soft tissue sarcomas and a common type of childhood malignancy with a distinct histomorphology. At the molecular level, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), a subtype of RMS, harbors a signature genetic makeup characterized by specific translocations. The type of translocation and associated genetic aberrations correlate with disease progression, hence we used multiple molecular modalities including high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization to explore the oncogenic gene fusion and associated copy number variations in a case of metastatic ARMS. We describe a case where traditional cytogenetic and molecular methods yielded inconclusive results in detecting the FOXO1 gene rearrangement. However, microarray analysis identified the essential FOXO1-PAX7 aberration and additional submicroscopic genomic alterations, including amplification of MYCN and MDM2 and deletion of RB1.

Arnold MA, Barr FG
Molecular diagnostics in the management of rhabdomyosarcoma.
Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2017; 17(2):189-194 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: A classification of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) with prognostic relevance has primarily relied on clinical features and histologic classification as either embryonal or alveolar RMS. The PAX3-FOXO1 and PAX7-FOXO1 gene fusions occur in 80% of cases with the alveolar subtype and are more predictive of outcome than histologic classification. Identifying additional molecular hallmarks that further subclassify RMS is an active area of research. Areas Covered: The authors review the current state of the PAX3-FOXO1 and PAX7-FOXO1 fusions as prognostic biomarkers. Emerging biomarkers, including mRNA expression profiling, MYOD1 mutations, RAS pathway mutations and gene fusions involving NCOA2 or VGLL2 are also reviewed. Expert commentary: Strategies for modifying RMS risk stratification based on molecular biomarkers are emerging with the potential to transform the clinical management of RMS, ultimately improving patient outcomes by tailoring therapy to predicted patient risk and identifying targets for novel therapies.

Selfe J, Olmos D, Al-Saadi R, et al.
Impact of fusion gene status versus histology on risk-stratification for rhabdomyosarcoma: Retrospective analyses of patients on UK trials.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017; 64(7) [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Long-term toxicities from current treatments are a major issue in paediatric cancer. Previous studies, including our own, have shown prognostic value for the presence of PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion genes in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). It is proposed to introduce PAX3/7-FOXO1 positivity as a component of risk stratification, rather than alveolar histology, in future clinical trials.
PROCEDURE: To assess the potential impact of this reclassification, we have determined the changes to risk category assignment of 210 histologically reviewed patients treated in the UK from previous malignant mesenchymal tumour clinical trials for non-metastatic RMS based on identification of PAX3/7-FOXO1 by fluorescence in situ hybridisation and/or reverse transcription PCR.
RESULTS: Using fusion gene positivity in the current risk stratification would reassign 7% of patients to different European Paediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Study Group (EpSSG) risk groups. The next European trial would have 80% power to detect differences in event-free survival of 15% over 10 years and 20% over 5 years in reassigned patients. This would decrease treatment for over a quarter of patients with alveolar histology tumours that lack PAX3/7-FOXO1.
CONCLUSIONS: Fusion gene status used in stratification may result in significant numbers of patients benefitting from lower treatment-associated toxicity. Prospective testing to show this reassignment maintains current survival rates is now required and is shown to be feasible based on estimated recruitment to a future EpSSG trial. Together with developing novel therapeutic strategies for patients identified as higher risk, this may ultimately improve the outcome and quality of life for patients with RMS.

Missiaglia E, Shepherd CJ, Aladowicz E, et al.
MicroRNA and gene co-expression networks characterize biological and clinical behavior of rhabdomyosarcomas.
Cancer Lett. 2017; 385:251-260 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) in children and adolescents are heterogeneous sarcomas broadly defined by skeletal muscle features and the presence/absence of PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion genes. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in a cell context specific manner. Sequencing analyses of microRNAs in 64 RMS revealed expression patterns separating skeletal muscle, fusion gene positive and negative RMS. Integration with parallel gene expression data assigned biological functions to 12 co-expression networks/modules that reassuringly included myogenic roles strongly correlated with microRNAs known in myogenesis and RMS development. Modules also correlated with clinical outcome and fusion status. Regulation of microRNAs by the fusion protein was demonstrated after PAX3-FOXO1 reduction, exemplified by miR-9-5p. MiR-9-5p levels correlated with poor outcome, even within fusion gene positive RMS, and were higher in metastatic versus non-metastatic disease. MiR-9-5p reduction inhibited RMS cell migration. Our findings reveal microRNAs in a regulatory framework of biological and clinical significance in RMS.

Charville GW, Varma S, Forgó E, et al.
PAX7 Expression in Rhabdomyosarcoma, Related Soft Tissue Tumors, and Small Round Blue Cell Neoplasms.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2016; 40(10):1305-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft tissue malignancy of childhood, is a morphologically variable tumor defined by its phenotype of skeletal muscle differentiation. The diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma often relies in part on the identification of myogenic gene expression using immunohistochemical or molecular techniques. However, these techniques show imperfect sensitivity and specificity, particularly in scant tissue biopsies. Here, we expand the toolkit for rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosis by studying the expression of PAX7, a transcriptional regulator of mammalian muscle progenitor cells implicated in the pathogenesis of rhabdomyosarcoma. Immunohistochemical analysis of tissue microarrays using a monoclonal anti-PAX7 antibody was used to characterize PAX7 expression in 25 non-neoplastic tissues, 109 rhabdomyosarcomas, and 697 small round blue cell or other soft tissue tumors. Among non-neoplastic tissues, PAX7 was specifically expressed in adult muscle progenitor cells (satellite cells). In embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, PAX7 expression was positive in 52 of 63 cases (83%), negative in 9 of 63 cases (14%), and focal in 2 of 63 cases (3%). PAX7-positive embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cases included several showing focal or negative myogenin expression. PAX7 expression in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma was positive in 6 of 31 cases (19%), negative in 14 of 31 cases (45%), and focal in 11 of 31 cases (36%). In addition, PAX7 was expressed in 5 of 7 pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcomas (71%) and 6 of 8 spindle cell rhabdomyosarcomas (75%). Among histologic mimics, only Ewing sarcoma showed PAX7 expression (7/7 cases, 100%). In contrast, expression of PAX7 was not seen in the large majority (688/690, 99.7%) of examined cases of other soft tissue tumors, small round blue cell neoplasms, and leukemias/lymphomas. In summary, immunohistochemical analysis of PAX7 expression may be a useful diagnostic tool in the assessment of skeletal muscle differentiation in human tumors.

Brzeszczyńska J, Johns N, Schilb A, et al.
Loss of oxidative defense and potential blockade of satellite cell maturation in the skeletal muscle of patients with cancer but not in the healthy elderly.
Aging (Albany NY). 2016; 8(8):1690-702 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Muscle wasting in old age or cancer may result from failed myofiber regeneration and/or accelerated atrophy. This study aimed to determine from transcriptomic analysis of human muscle the integrity of the cellular stress response system in relation to satellite cell differentiation or apoptosis in patients with cancer (weight-stable (CWS) or weight-losing (CWL)) or healthy elderly (HE) when compared with healthy middle-aged controls (HMA). 28 patients with cancer (CWS: 18 and CWL: 10), HE: 21 and HMA: 20 underwent biopsy of quadriceps muscle. The expression of transcription factors for muscle regeneration (Pax3, Pax7 and MyoD) was increased in CWS and HE compared with HMA (p≤0.001). In contrast, the expression of the late myogenic differentiation marker MyoG was reduced in CWS and CWL but increased in HE (p≤0.0001). Bax was significantly increased in CWS, CWL and HE (p≤0.0001). Expression of the oxidative defense genes SOD2, GCLM, and Nrf2 was decreased in CWS and CWL but increased in HE (p≤0.0001). There is evidence for blockade of satellite cell maturation, upregulation of apoptosis and reduced oxidative defense in the muscle of cancer patients. In the healthy elderly the potential for differentiation and oxidative defense is maintained.

Thuault S, Comunale F, Hasna J, et al.
The RhoE/ROCK/ARHGAP25 signaling pathway controls cell invasion by inhibition of Rac activity.
Mol Biol Cell. 2016; 27(17):2653-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of skeletal muscle origin in children and adolescents. Among RMS subtypes, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), which is characterized by the presence of the PAX3-FOXO1A or PAX7-FOXO1A chimeric oncogenic transcription factor, is associated with poor prognosis and a strong risk of metastasis compared with the embryonal subtype (ERMS). To identify molecular pathways involved in ARMS aggressiveness, we first characterized the migratory behavior of cell lines derived from ARMS and ERMS biopsies using a three-dimensional spheroid cell invasion assay. ARMS cells were more invasive than ERMS cells and adopted an ellipsoidal morphology to efficiently invade the extracellular matrix. Moreover, the invasive potential of ARMS cells depended on ROCK activity, which is regulated by the GTPase RhoE. Specifically, RhoE expression was low in ARMS biopsies, and its overexpression in ARMS cells reduced their invasion potential. Conversely, ARHGAP25, a GTPase-activating protein for Rac, was up-regulated in ARMS biopsies. Moreover, we found that ARHGAP25 inhibits Rac activity downstream of ROCKII and is required for ARMS cell invasion. Our results indicate that the RhoE/ROCK/ARHGAP25 signaling pathway promotes ARMS invasive potential and identify these proteins as potential therapeutic targets for ARMS treatment.

Piersigilli F, Auriti C, Mondì V, et al.
Decreased CDKN1C Expression in Congenital Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma Associated with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.
Indian J Pediatr. 2016; 83(12-13):1476-1478 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by somatic overgrowth and predisposition to embryonal tumors, such as Wilm's tumor, hepatoblastoma, neuroblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). BWS is associated with various genetic alterations: a variety of molecular lesions are described on the chromosome 11p15, affecting gene expression for IGF2, H19, CDKN1C and KCNQ1OT1. Alveolar RMS also recognises characteristic genetic alterations: two types of translocations, t(2,13) or t(1,13), that generate the PAX3-FKHR or PAX7-FKHR fusion proteins. It has been postulated however, that in BWS this kind of tumor occurs without this characteristic chromosomal rearrangement. The authors describe case of a neonate with BWS that presented at birth with cutaneous metastasis due to alveolar RMS. Genetic analysis showed lack of the two characteristic translocations in the tumor tissue, supporting a different oncogenic pathway of alveolar RMS in children with BWS.

Hanna JA, Garcia MR, Go JC, et al.
PAX7 is a required target for microRNA-206-induced differentiation of fusion-negative rhabdomyosarcoma.
Cell Death Dis. 2016; 7(6):e2256 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood. RMS can be parsed based on clinical outcome into two subtypes, fusion-positive RMS (FP-RMS) or fusion-negative RMS (FN-RMS) based on the presence or absence of either PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1 gene fusions. In both RMS subtypes, tumor cells show histology and a gene expression pattern resembling that of developmentally arrested skeletal muscle. Differentiation therapy is an attractive approach to embryonal tumors of childhood including RMS; however, agents to drive RMS differentiation have not entered the clinic and their mechanisms remain unclear. MicroRNA-206 (miR-206) expression increases through normal muscle development and has decreased levels in RMS compared with normal skeletal muscle. Increasing miR-206 expression drives differentiation of RMS, but the target genes responsible for the relief of the development arrest are largely unknown. Using a combinatorial approach with gene and proteomic profiling coupled with genetic rescue, we identified key miR-206 targets responsible for the FN-RMS differentiation blockade, PAX7, PAX3, NOTCH3, and CCND2. Specifically, we determined that PAX7 downregulation is necessary for miR-206-induced cell cycle exit and myogenic differentiation in FN-RMS but not in FP-RMS. Gene knockdown of targets necessary for miR-206-induced differentiation alone or in combination was not sufficient to phenocopy the differentiation phenotype from miR-206, thus illustrating that miR-206 replacement offers the ability to modulate a complex network of genes responsible for the developmental arrest in FN-RMS. Genetic deletion of miR-206 in a mouse model of FN-RMS accelerated and exacerbated tumor development, indicating that both in vitro and in vivo miR-206 acts as a tumor suppressor in FN-RMS at least partially through downregulation of PAX7. Collectively, our results illustrate that miR-206 relieves the differentiation arrest in FN-RMS and suggests that miR-206 replacement could be a potential therapeutic differentiation strategy.

Unno R, Mizuno K, Ito Y, et al.
Treatment Strategy for Pediatric Paratesticular Rhabdomyosarcoma Based on Chimeric Gene Assessment.
Urology. 2016; 95:187-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a malignant tumor of the soft tissue, occurs in two major subtypes: embryonal and alveolar. A majority of pediatric RMS cases involve the embryonal type and occur in the soft tissues of the head and neck or the urogenital organs, which contain paratesticular tissues. We report herein two cases of pediatric paratesticular RMS. One case was embryonal, whereas the other case was alveolar; the latter exhibited PAX7-FOXO1 gene chimerism and rapid progression. Notably, this is the first report of pediatric paratesticular pure-type alveolar RMS in Japan.

Duan S, Yuan G, Liu X, et al.
PTEN deficiency reprogrammes human neural stem cells towards a glioblastoma stem cell-like phenotype.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:10068 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PTEN is a tumour suppressor frequently mutated in many types of cancers. Here we show that targeted disruption of PTEN leads to neoplastic transformation of human neural stem cells (NSCs), but not mesenchymal stem cells. PTEN-deficient NSCs display neoplasm-associated metabolic and gene expression profiles and generate intracranial tumours in immunodeficient mice. PTEN is localized to the nucleus in NSCs, binds to the PAX7 promoter through association with cAMP responsive element binding protein 1 (CREB)/CREB binding protein (CBP) and inhibits PAX7 transcription. PTEN deficiency leads to the upregulation of PAX7, which in turn promotes oncogenic transformation of NSCs and instates 'aggressiveness' in human glioblastoma stem cells. In a large clinical database, we find increased PAX7 levels in PTEN-deficient glioblastoma. Furthermore, we identify that mitomycin C selectively triggers apoptosis in NSCs with PTEN deficiency. Together, we uncover a potential mechanism of how PTEN safeguards NSCs, and establish a cellular platform to identify factors involved in NSC transformation, potentially permitting personalized treatment of glioblastoma.

Walther C, Mayrhofer M, Nilsson J, et al.
Genetic heterogeneity in rhabdomyosarcoma revealed by SNP array analysis.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2016; 55(1):3-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and adolescents. Alveolar (ARMS) and embryonal (ERMS) histologies predominate, but rare cases are classified as spindle cell/sclerosing (SRMS). For treatment stratification, RMS is further subclassified as fusion-positive (FP-RMS) or fusion-negative (FN-RMS), depending on whether a gene fusion involving PAX3 or PAX7 is present or not. We investigated 19 cases of pediatric RMS using high resolution single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. FP-ARMS displayed, on average, more structural rearrangements than ERMS; the single FN-ARMS had a genomic profile similar to ERMS. Apart from previously known amplification (e.g., MYCN, CDK4, and MIR17HG) and deletion (e.g., NF1, CDKN2A, and CDKN2B) targets, amplification of ERBB2 and homozygous loss of ASCC3 or ODZ3 were seen. Combining SNP array with cytogenetic data revealed that most cases were polyploid, with at least one case having started as a near-haploid tumor. Further bioinformatic analysis of the SNP array data disclosed genetic heterogeneity, in the form of subclonal chromosomal imbalances, in five tumors. The outcome was worse for patients with FP-ARMS than ERMS or FN-ARMS (6/8 vs. 1/9 dead of disease), and the only children with ERMS showing intratumor diversity or with MYOD1 mutation-positive SRMS also died of disease. High resolution SNP array can be useful in evaluating genomic imbalances in pediatric RMS.

Poniewierska-Baran A, Suszynska M, Sun W, et al.
Human rhabdomyosarcoma cells express functional erythropoietin receptor: Potential therapeutic implications.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(5):1989-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) is expressed by cells from the erythroid lineage; however, evidence has accumulated that it is also expressed by some solid tumors. This is an important observation, because recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) is employed in cancer patients to treat anemia related to chemo/radiotherapy. In our studies we employed eight rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cell lines (three alveolar-type RMS cell lines and five embrional-type RMS cell lines), and mRNA samples obtained from positive, PAX7-FOXO1-positive, and fusion-negative RMS patient samples. Expression of EpoR was evaluated by RT-PCR, gene array and FACS. The functionality of EpoR in RMS cell lines was evaluated by chemotaxis, adhesion, and direct cell proliferation assays. In some of the experiments, RMS cells were exposed to vincristine (VCR) in the presence or absence of EPO to test whether EPO may impair the therapeutic effect of VCR. We report for a first time that functional EpoR is expressed in human RMS cell lines as well as by primary tumors from RMS patients. Furthermore, EpoR is detectably expressed in both embryonal and alveolar RMS subtypes. At the functional level, several human RMS cell lines responded to EPO stimulation by enhanced proliferation, chemotaxis, cell adhesion, and phosphorylation of MAPKp42/44 and AKT. Moreover, RMS cells became more resistant to VCR treatment in the presence of EPO. Our findings have important potential clinical implications, indicating that EPO supplementation in RMS patients may have the unwanted side effect of tumor progression.

Dodd RD, Sachdeva M, Mito JK, et al.
Myogenic transcription factors regulate pro-metastatic miR-182.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(14):1868-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Approximately 30% of patients with soft-tissue sarcoma die from pulmonary metastases. The mechanisms that drive sarcoma metastasis are not well understood. Recently, we identified miR-182 as a driver of sarcoma metastasis in a primary mouse model of soft-tissue sarcoma. We also observed elevated miR-182 in a subset of primary human sarcomas that metastasized to the lungs. Here, we show that myogenic differentiation factors regulate miR-182 levels to contribute to metastasis in mouse models. We find that MyoD directly binds the miR-182 promoter to increase miR-182 expression. Furthermore, mechanistic studies revealed that Pax7 can promote sarcoma metastasis in vivo through MyoD-dependent regulation of pro-metastatic miR-182. Taken together, these results suggest that sarcoma metastasis can be partially controlled through Pax7/MyoD-dependent activation of miR-182 and provide insight into the role that myogenic transcription factors have in sarcoma progression.

Sun W, Chatterjee B, Wang Y, et al.
Distinct methylation profiles characterize fusion-positive and fusion-negative rhabdomyosarcoma.
Mod Pathol. 2015; 28(9):1214-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma comprises two major subtypes, fusion positive (PAX3-FOXO1 or PAX7-FOXO1) and fusion negative. To investigate the significance of DNA methylation in these subtypes, we analyzed methylation profiles of 37 rhabdomyosarcoma tumors and 10 rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines, as well as 8 normal tissues. Unsupervised clustering of DNA methylation clearly distinguished the fusion-positive and fusion-negative subsets. The fusion-positive tumors showed substantially lower overall levels of methylation compared with fusion-negative tumors. Comparison with the methylation pattern of normal skeletal muscle and bone marrow indicates that fusion-negative rhabdomyosarcoma is more similar to these normal tissues compared with fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma, and suggests that many of the methylation differences between these subtypes arise from 'aberrant' hyper- and hypomethylation events in fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma. Integrative methylation and gene expression analysis revealed that methylation differences between fusion-positive and fusion-negative tumors could either be positively or negatively associated with mRNA expression. There was no significant difference in the distribution of PAX3-FOXO1-binding sites between genes with and without differential methylation. However, the finding that PAX3-FOXO1-binding sites were enriched among genes that were both differentially methylated and differentially expressed suggests that the fusion protein interacts with DNA methylation to regulate target gene expression. An 11-gene DNA methylation signature, classifying the rhabdomyosarcoma tumors into fusion-positive and fusion-negative subsets, was established and validated by pyrosequencing assays. Notably, EMILIN1 (part of the 11-gene signature) showed higher methylation and lower mRNA expression in fusion-positive compared with fusion-negative tumors, and demonstrated demethylation and re-expression in multiple fusion-positive cell lines after treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that fusion-positive and fusion-negative rhabdomyosarcoma tumors possess characteristic methylation profiles that contribute to the expression differences between these fusion subtypes. These findings indicate an important relationship between fusion status and epigenetic changes in rhabdomyosarcoma, present a novel approach for ascertaining fusion status, and may identify new therapeutic targets in rhabdomyosarcoma.

Beccafico S, Morozzi G, Marchetti MC, et al.
Artesunate induces ROS- and p38 MAPK-mediated apoptosis and counteracts tumor growth in vivo in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(9):1071-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma represents about 50% of soft-tissue sarcomas and 10% of malignant solid tumors in childhood. Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) is the most frequent subtype, suggested to have an origin in muscle precursor cells that fail to exit the cell cycle and terminally differentiate mainly because of overexpression of the transcription factor, PAX7, which sustains proliferation, migration and invasiveness in ERMS cells. Artesunate (ARS) is a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin (ART), a natural compound well known as an antimalarial drug. However, ART and its derivatives have been found efficacious even as anticancer drugs that induce cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis in several kinds of cancer. Here, we show that ARS dose-dependently induces DNA damage and apoptosis in ERMS cell lines. Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of p38 MAPK have a central role in triggering ARS-mediated apoptosis in ERMS cells; indeed either the antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine or the p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580, protects ERMS cells from ARS-induced apoptosis. Moreover, ARS treatment in ERMS cells ROS-dependently induces the expression of the myo-miRs, miR-133a and miR-206, which are down-regulated in RMS, and reduces PAX7 protein levels. Finally, ARS upregulates the expression of the adhesion molecules, NCAM and integrin β1, and reduces migration and invasiveness of ERMS cells in vitro, and ARS treatment reduces of about 50% the growth of ERMS xenografts in vivo. Our results are the first evidence of efficacy of ART derivatives in restraining ERMS growth in vivo, and suggest ARS as a potential candidate for therapeutic treatment of ERMS.

Seki M, Nishimura R, Yoshida K, et al.
Integrated genetic and epigenetic analysis defines novel molecular subgroups in rhabdomyosarcoma.
Nat Commun. 2015; 6:7557 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in childhood. Here we studied 60 RMSs using whole-exome/-transcriptome sequencing, copy number (CN) and DNA methylome analyses to unravel the genetic/epigenetic basis of RMS. On the basis of methylation patterns, RMS is clustered into four distinct subtypes, which exhibits remarkable correlation with mutation/CN profiles, histological phenotypes and clinical behaviours. A1 and A2 subtypes, especially A1, largely correspond to alveolar histology with frequent PAX3/7 fusions and alterations in cell cycle regulators. In contrast, mostly showing embryonal histology, both E1 and E2 subtypes are characterized by high frequency of CN alterations and/or allelic imbalances, FGFR4/RAS/AKT pathway mutations and PTEN mutations/methylation and in E2, also by p53 inactivation. Despite the better prognosis of embryonal RMS, patients in the E2 are likely to have a poor prognosis. Our results highlight the close relationships of the methylation status and gene mutations with the biological behaviour in RMS.

Kubo T, Shimose S, Fujimori J, et al.
Prognostic value of PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion status in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2015; 96(1):46-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The objective of this systematic review is to provide an unprecedented summary of the prognostic impact of PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion status in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
METHODS: Studies evaluating PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion gene or its variants as a prognostic marker were systematically searched and comparative meta-analysis of overall survival was carried out.
RESULTS: A total of 7 studies comprising 993 patients with rhabdomyosarcoma were included. Three eligible studies showed no significant difference of survival between fusion positive and negative alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Four eligible studies showed that PAX3-FOXO1 fusion variant may indicate a lower survival probability than PAX7-FOXO1, although the effect did not reach a level of statistical significance (pooled hazard ratios, 1.66; 95% CI, 0.95-2.89; p=0.07).
CONCLUSIONS: There was no significant difference in the overall survival between patients with the positive and negative fusion gene, but there were indications of PAX3-FOXO1 being an unfavorable prognostic factor.

Thway K, Wang J, Wren D, et al.
The comparative utility of fluorescence in situ hybridization and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in the diagnosis of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
Virchows Arch. 2015; 467(2):217-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for FOXO1 gene rearrangement and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion transcripts have become routine ancillary tools for the diagnosis of alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (ARMS). Here we summarize our experience of these adjunct diagnostic modalities at a tertiary center, presenting the largest comparative series of FISH and PCR for suspected or possible ARMS to date. All suspected or possible ARMS tested by FISH or PCR for FOXO1 rearrangement or PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion transcripts over a 7-year period were included. FISH and PCR results were correlated with clinical and histologic findings. One hundred samples from 95 patients had FISH and/or PCR performed. FISH had higher rates of technical success (96.8 %) compared with PCR (88 %). Where both tests were utilized successfully, there was high concordance rate between them (94.9 %). In 24 histologic ARMS tested for FISH or PCR, 83.3 % were translocation-positive (all for PAX3-FOXO1 by PCR) and included 3 histologic solid variants. In 76 cases where ARMS was excluded, there were 3 potential false-positive cases with FISH but none with PCR. PCR had similar sensitivity (85.7 %) and better specificity (100 %) in aiding the diagnosis of ARMS, compared with FISH (85 and 95.8 %, respectively). All solid variant ARMS harbored FOXO1 gene rearrangements and PAX3-FOXO1 ARMS were detected to the exclusion of PAX7-FOXO1. In comparative analysis, both FISH and PCR are useful in aiding the diagnosis of ARMS and excluding its sarcomatous mimics. FISH is more reliable technically but has less specificity than PCR. In cases where ARMS is in the differential diagnosis, it is optimal to perform both PCR and FISH: both have similar sensitivities for detecting ARMS, but FISH may confirm or exclude cases that are technically unsuccessful with PCR, while PCR can detect specific fusion transcripts that may be useful prognostically.

Olanich ME, Sun W, Hewitt SM, et al.
CDK4 Amplification Reduces Sensitivity to CDK4/6 Inhibition in Fusion-Positive Rhabdomyosarcoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(21):4947-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma and includes a PAX3- or PAX7-FOXO1 fusion-positive subtype. Amplification of chromosomal region 12q13-q14, which contains the CDK4 proto-oncogene, was identified in an aggressive subset of fusion-positive RMS. CDK4/6 inhibitors have antiproliferative activity in CDK4-amplified liposarcoma and neuroblastoma, suggesting CDK4/6 inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy in fusion-positive RMS.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We examined the biologic consequences of CDK4 knockdown, CDK4 overexpression, and pharmacologic CDK4/6 inhibition by LEE011 in fusion-positive RMS cell lines and xenografts.
RESULTS: Knockdown of CDK4 abrogated proliferation and transformation of 12q13-14-amplified and nonamplified fusion-positive RMS cells via G1-phase cell-cycle arrest. This arrest was mediated by reduced RB phosphorylation and E2F-responsive gene expression. Significant differences in E2F target expression, cell-cycle distribution, proliferation, or transformation were not observed in RMS cells overexpressing CDK4. Treatment with LEE011 phenocopied CDK4 knockdown, decreasing viability, RB phosphorylation, and E2F-responsive gene expression and inducing G1-phase cell-cycle arrest. Although all fusion-positive cell lines showed sensitivity to CDK4/6 inhibition, there was diminished sensitivity associated with CDK4 amplification and overexpression. This variable responsiveness to LEE011 was recapitulated in xenograft models of CDK4-amplified and nonamplified fusion-positive RMS.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that CDK4 is necessary but overexpression is not sufficient for RB-E2F-mediated G1-phase cell-cycle progression, proliferation, and transformation in fusion-positive RMS. Our studies indicate that LEE011 is active in the setting of fusion-positive RMS and suggest that low CDK4-expressing fusion-positive tumors may be particularly susceptible to CDK4/6 inhibition.

Hettmer S, Li Z, Billin AN, et al.
Rhabdomyosarcoma: current challenges and their implications for developing therapies.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014; 4(11):a025650 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) represents a rare, heterogeneous group of mesodermal malignancies with skeletal muscle differentiation. One major subgroup of RMS tumors (so-called "fusion-positive" tumors) carries exclusive chromosomal translocations that join the DNA-binding domain of the PAX3 or PAX7 gene to the transactivation domain of the FOXO1 (previously known as FKHR) gene. Fusion-negative RMS represents a heterogeneous spectrum of tumors with frequent RAS pathway activation. Overtly metastatic disease at diagnosis is more frequently found in individuals with fusion-positive than in those with fusion-negative tumors. RMS is the most common pediatric soft-tissue sarcoma, and approximately 60% of all children and adolescents diagnosed with RMS are cured by currently available multimodal therapies. However, a curative outcome is achieved in <30% of high-risk individuals with RMS, including all those diagnosed as adults, those diagnosed with fusion-positive tumors during childhood (including metastatic and nonmetastatic tumors), and those diagnosed with metastatic disease during childhood (including fusion-positive and fusion-negative tumors). This white paper outlines current challenges in RMS research and their implications for developing more effective therapies. Urgent clinical problems include local control, systemic disease, need for improved risk stratification, and characterization of differences in disease course in children and adults. Biological challenges include definition of the cellular functions of PAX-FOXO1 fusion proteins, clarification of disease heterogeneity, elucidation of the cellular origins of RMS, delineation of the tumor microenvironment, and identification of means for rational selection and testing of new combination therapies. To streamline future therapeutic developments, it will be critical to improve access to fresh tumor tissue for research purposes, consider alternative trial designs to optimize early clinical testing of candidate drugs, coalesce advocacy efforts to garner public and industry support, and facilitate collaborative efforts between academia and industry.

Chiappalupi S, Riuzzi F, Fulle S, et al.
Defective RAGE activity in embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cells results in high PAX7 levels that sustain migration and invasiveness.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(10):2382-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a muscle-derived malignant tumor mainly affecting children. The most frequent variant, embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) is characterized by overexpression of the transcription factor, PAX7 which prevents ERMS cells from exiting the cell cycle and terminally differentiating. However, a role for PAX7 in the invasive properties of ERMS cells has not been investigated in detail thus far. Here we show that ectopic expression of receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) in human ERMS cells results in the activation of a RAGE/myogenin axis which downregulates PAX7 by transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms, as in normal myoblasts, and reduces metastasis formation. High PAX7 sustains migration and invasiveness in ERMS cells by upregulating EPHA3 and EFNA1 and downregulating NCAM1 thus decreasing the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM)/polysialylated-NCAM ratio. Microarray gene expression analysis shows that compared with the RAGE(-ve) TE671/WT cells and similarly to primary human myoblasts, TE671/RAGE cells show upregulation of genes involved in muscle differentiation and cell adhesion, and downregulation of cell migration related and major histocompatibility complex class I genes. Our data reveal a link between PAX7 and metastasis occurrence in ERMSs, and support a role for the RAGE/myogenin axis in metastasis suppression. Thus, low RAGE expression in ERMS primary tumors may be predictive of metastatic behavior.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. PAX7, Cancer Genetics Web: Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 01 September, 2019     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999