Expression of Sox2, Oct4, and Nanog in Human Lung Cancer Non-small-cell

Document Type : Original Article


1 Molecular Medicine Department, Biotechnology Research Center, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Converging Sciences and Technologies, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Cancer stem cells are a subpopulation of tumor cells with self-renewal capacity that promote tumorigenesis, resistance to chemotherapy, and metastasis. Sox2, Oct4, and Nanog are three pluripotent transcription factors expressed in embryonic stem cells and cancer stem cells.
Materials and Methods: This study aimed to evaluate the expression of Sox2, Nanog, and Oct4, and analyze their clinical significance in human non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Expression of Sox2, Nanog, and Oct4 was assayed in cancer tissues and their corresponding paracancerous tissues from 30 patients with NSCLC. RT-PCR was used to analyze the expression of these genes. The correlation between the expression of these three genes and clinical parameters including disease stage, smoking, lymph node, and cancer subgroups (adenocarcinoma and squamous) were analyzed.
Results: All three genes were expressed simultaneously in 76.6% of tumor samples. A significant correlation was observed between the expression of Sox2, Nanog, and Oct4 in the cancer tissues in comparison to the paracancerous tissues (P<0.000). Expression of Sox2 and Oct4 gene had a positive correlation with the stage of cancer (Sox2 P=0.01, Oct4 P=0.0007), while the expression profile of Nanog showed a significant positive correlation with sex (P=0.0063), smoking (P=0.0253), tumor stages (P=0.0003), and tumor type (P=0.0085).
Conclusion: Evaluating the expression of Sox2, Nanog, and Oct4 genes in NSCLC might have some implications for diagnosis and prognosis; they might be also promising treatment targets. The correlations between prognosis and pathological features and Nanog overexpression in NSCLC suggest Nanog is a potential indicator of the early stage of NSCLC.