Volume 11 (2017) Issue 3 Pages 254-266
T-box factors comprise an archaic family of evolutionary conserved transcription factors that regulate patterns of gene expression essential for embryonic development. The T-box transcription factor 3 (TBX3), a member of this family, is expressed in several tissues and plays critical roles in, among other structures, the heart, mammary gland and limbs and haploinsufficiency of the human TBX3 gene is the genetic basis for the autosomal dominant disorder, ulnar-mammary syndrome. Overexpression of TBX3 on the other hand has been linked to several cancers including melanoma, breast, pancreatic, liver, lung, head and neck, ovarian, bladder carcinomas and a number of sarcoma subtypes. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that TBX3 promotes oncogenesis by impacting proliferation, tumour formation, metastasis as well as cell survival and drug resistance. More recently, TBX3 was however shown to also have tumour suppressor activity in fibrosarcomas and thus its functions in oncogenesis appear to be context dependent. Identification of the upstream regulators of TBX3 and the molecular mechanism(s) underpinning its oncogenic roles will make valuable contributions to cancer biology.