Genome wide expression analysis of Middle Eastern colorectal cancer reveals FoxM1 as a novel target for cancer therapy

Document Type



Centre for Regenerative Medicine


To identify genes potentially playing an important role in the progression of colorectal carcinoma (CRC), we screened global gene expression using cDNA expression array on 41 CRC tissue samples and 25 noncancerous colorectal tissue samples. Among the up-regulated genes, forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) has been shown to play a critical role in pathogenesis of various malignancies. Using immunohistochemistry on 448 Saudi CRC samples in tissue microarray format, FoxM1 protein overexpression was seen in 66% of CRC tissues and was significantly associated with poorly differentiated and highly proliferative tumors (P = 0.0200 and 0.0018, respectively). FoxM1 expression was also significantly associated with MMP-9 protein expression (P = 0.0002). In vitro data using CRC cell lines showed that inhibition of FoxM1 by thiostrepton resulted in inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of FoxM1 potentiated cell proliferation, cell transformation, and migration/invasion of CRC cells via up-regulation of FoxM1 target genes MMP2 and MMP9 and protected these cells from thiostrepton-mediated antiproliferative effects. Finally, in vivo, overexpression of FoxM1 promoted growth of CRC-cell line xenograft tumors in nude mice. Altogether, our data indicate that FoxM1 signaling contributes to aggressiveness in a subset of CRC and that the FOXM1 gene may serve as a useful molecular biomarker and potential therapeutic target.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The American Journal of Pathology