Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Diagnostic Pathology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research

Levels of HOXB7 and miR-337 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients

Rui Zhang1*, Shangen Zheng2, Yuwen Du3, Yuanyuan Wang3, Wenqiao Zang3 and Guoqiang Zhao3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of emergency, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, No.1 Jianshe Road, Zhengzhou, Henan 450052, China

2 Department of Blood Transfusion, Wuhan General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, China

3 College of Basic Medical Sciences, Zhengzhou University, No.100 Kexue Road, Zhengzhou 450001, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Diagnostic Pathology 2014, 9:61  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-61

Published: 18 March 2014



Many studies have revealed that homeobox-B7 (HOXB7) and miR-337 play important roles in different types of human cancers. However, the relationship of HOXB7 and miR-337 in PDAC with clinicopathological factors has not yet been examined and their biological roles remain to be explored.


Using quantitative real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemical staining, the expression of HOXB7 mRNA, miR-337, and HOXB7 protein in 44 PDAC samples was detected. Survival curves were made using follow-up data. The relationship between clinical or pathological characteristics and the prognosis was analyzed.


The expression levels of HOXB7 mRNA and HOXB7 protein were significantly elevated in PDAC samples than that in non-malignant adjacent tissues. There were obvious differences in HOXB7 mRNA and proteins between tumors of different diameters, differentiation, TNM stage, and lymph node status. The level of miR-337 was markedly lower in tumor samples than in non-malignant adjacent tissues. The expression of miR-337 was related to TNM stage and lymph node status. There were significant differences in survival curves between patients with tumors <4 cm in diameter and patients with tumors ≥4 cm, among groups of well, moderately, and poorly differentiated tumors, between groups with TNM stages I, II and III or IV, between groups with metastatic lymph nodes and non-metastatic lymph nodes, among groups of HOXB7 protein expression negative (or weak) and positive, between groups with low levels of miR-337 expression and with high levels of miR-337 expression. The levels of HOXB7 mRNA, HOXB7 protein, and miR-337 were found to be associated with longer survival.


The present study showed that HOXB7 was over-expressed and miR-337 was minimally expressed in PDAC tissues, and their levels were related to TNM stage and lymph node status. The levels of HOXB7 mRNA, HOXB7 protein, and miR-337 were associated with survival in PDAC patients. Results suggested that HOXB7 and miR-337 could be used as determinants of PDAC patient prognosis.

Virtual slides

The virtual slides for this article can be found here: webcite.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); HOXB7; miR-337