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HOXB13 gene

homeobox B13

Normal Function

The HOXB13 gene provides instructions for producing a protein that attaches (binds) to specific regions of DNA and regulates the activity of other genes. On the basis of this role, the protein produced from the HOXB13 gene is called a transcription factor. The HOXB13 protein is part of a large group of transcription factors called the homeobox protein family. The HOXB13 protein is thought to play a role in the development and maintenance of the skin. It also acts as a tumor suppressor, which means that it keeps cells from growing and dividing too fast or in an uncontrolled way.

The HOXB13 protein has a characteristic homeobox region called the homeodomain, which binds to DNA, and two other regions called MEIS interacting domains. The MEIS interacting domains are thought to help regulate the activity of the HOXB13 protein by controlling the binding of the homeodomain with DNA.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Prostate cancer

At least two mutations in the HOXB13 gene have been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer; the disease may also be more aggressive in affected men with a HOXB13 mutation. These mutations are present in every cell of the body and can be passed from one generation to the next. As a result, they are associated with cancers that cluster in families. However, not everyone who inherits a mutation in the HOXB13 gene will ultimately develop prostate cancer. Other genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors also contribute to a person's cancer risk.

The HOXB13 gene mutations that are associated with prostate cancer alter the MEIS interacting domains of the HOXB13 protein. Researchers suggest that the changes may impair the ability of these domains to regulate the HOXB13 protein's interactions with DNA. As a result, the protein's tumor suppressor function is impaired, resulting in the uncontrolled cell proliferation that can lead to prostate cancer.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • homeobox protein Hox-B13
  • PSGD

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Bambury RM, Gallagher DJ. Prostate cancer: germline prediction for a commonly variable malignancy. BJU Int. 2012 Dec;110(11 Pt C):E809-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11450.x. Epub 2012 Sep 14. Citation on PubMed
  • Huang H, Cai B. G84E mutation in HOXB13 is firmly associated with prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Tumour Biol. 2014 Feb;35(2):1177-82. doi: 10.1007/s13277-013-1157-5. Epub 2013 Sep 13. Citation on PubMed
  • Lin X, Qu L, Chen Z, Xu C, Ye D, Shao Q, Wang X, Qi J, Chen Z, Zhou F, Wang M, Wang Z, He D, Wu D, Gao X, Yuan J, Wang G, Xu Y, Wang G, Dong P, Jiao Y, Yang J, Ou-Yang J, Jiang H, Zhu Y, Ren S, Zhang Z, Yin C, Wu Q, Zheng Y, Turner AR, Tao S, Na R, Ding Q, Lu D, Shi R, Sun J, Liu F, Zheng SL, Mo Z, Sun Y, Xu J. A novel germline mutation in HOXB13 is associated with prostate cancer risk in Chinese men. Prostate. 2013 Jan;73(2):169-75. doi: 10.1002/pros.22552. Epub 2012 Jun 21. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Shang Z, Zhu S, Zhang H, Li L, Niu Y. Germline homeobox B13 (HOXB13) G84E mutation and prostate cancer risk in European descendants: a meta-analysis of 24,213 cases and 73, 631 controls. Eur Urol. 2013 Jul;64(1):173-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Mar 14. No abstract available. Citation on PubMed
  • Smith SC, Palanisamy N, Zuhlke KA, Johnson AM, Siddiqui J, Chinnaiyan AM, Kunju LP, Cooney KA, Tomlins SA. HOXB13 G84E-related familial prostate cancers: a clinical, histologic, and molecular survey. Am J Surg Pathol. 2014 May;38(5):615-26. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000000090. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.