Int J Stem Cells.  2021 May;14(2):168-179. 10.15283/ijsc20121.

The Role of Nkx3.1 in Cancers and Stemness

  • 1Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea


The well-known androgen-regulated homeobox gene, NKX3.1, is located on the short arm of chromosome 8. It is the first known prostate epithelium-specific marker, and is a transcription factor involved in development of the testes and prostate. In addition to specifying the prostate epithelium and maintaining normal prostate secretory function, Nkx3.1 is an established marker for prostate cancer. Over the years, however, this gene has been implicated in various other cancers, and technological advances have allowed determination of its role in other cellular functions. Nkx3.1 has also been recently identified as a factor capable of replacing Oct4 in cellular reprogramming. This review highlights the role of this tumor suppressor and briefly describes its functions, ranging from prostate development to maintenance of stemness and cellular reprogramming.


Cellular reprogramming; CARNs; Prostate development; Prostate cancer
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