Background: Runt-related transcription factors (RUNX) are involved in numerous fundamental biological processes and play crucial parts in tumorigenesis and metastasis both directly and indirectly. However, the pan-cancer evidence of the RUNX gene family is not available.

Methods: In this study, we analyzed the potential association between RUNX gene family expression and patient’s prognosis, immune cell infiltration, drug response, and genetic mutation data across different types of tumors using based on The Cancer Genome Atlas, Gene Expression Omnibus, and Oncomine database.

Results: The results showed that the expression of the RUNX gene family varied among different cancer types, revealing its heterogeneity in cancers and that expression of RUNX2 was lower than that of RUNX1 and RUNX3 across all cancer types. RUNX gene family gene expression was related to prognosis in several cancers. Furthermore, our study revealed a clear association between RUNX gene family expression and ESTIMATE score, RNA stemness, and DNA stemness scores. Compared with RUNX1 and RUNX2, RUNX3 showed relatively low levels of genetic alterations. RUNX gene family genes had clear associations with immune infiltrate subtypes, and their expression was positively related to immune checkpoint genes and drug sensitivity in most cases. Two immunotherapy cohorts confirm that the expression of RUNX was correlated with the clinical response of immunotherapy.

Conclusions: These findings will help to elucidate the potential oncogenic roles of RUNX gene family genes in different types of cancer and it can function as a prognostic marker in various malignant tumors.