In this study, we aimed to investigate the molecular biomarkers that are pivotal for the development and progression of gastric cancer (GC). We analyzed clinical specimens using RNA sequencing to identify the target genes. We found that the expression of HOXC6 mRNA was upregulated with the progression of cancer, which was validated by quantitative real time PCR and RNA in-situ hybridization. To compare the protein expression of HOXC6, we evaluated GC and normal gastric tissue samples using western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. We detected significantly higher levels of HOXC6 in the GC tissues than in the normal controls at both mRNA and protein levels. The expression levels of HOXC6 mRNA in patients with advanced gastric cancer (AGC) were significantly higher than those in patients with early gastric cancer (EGC). Kaplan-Meier curves showed that high expression of HOXC6 mRNA is significantly associated with poor clinical prognosis. Our findings suggest that HOXC6 mRNA may be a novel biomarker and can be potentially valuable in predicting the prognosis of GC patients. Especially, HOXC6 mRNA in-situ hybridization may be a diagnostic tool for predicting prognosis of individual GC patients.
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