Glioblastomas, like other solid tumors, have extensive areas of hypoxia and necrosis. The importance of hypoxia in driving tumor growth is receiving increased attention. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is one of the master regulators that orchestrate the cellular responses to hypoxia. It is a heterodimeric transcription factor composed of α and β subunits. The α subunit is stable in hypoxic conditions but is rapidly degraded in normoxia. The function of HIF-1 is also modulated by several molecular mechanisms that regulate its synthesis, degradation, and transcriptional activity. Upon stabilization or activation, HIF-1 translocates to the nucleus and induces transcription of its downstream target genes. Most important to gliomagenesis, HIF-1 is a potent activator of angiogenesis and invasion through its upregulation of target genes critical for these functions. Activation of the HIF-1 pathway is a common feature of gliomas and may explain the intense vascular hyperplasia often seen in glioblastoma multiforme. Activation of HIF results in the activation of vascular endothelial growth factors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, matrix metalloproteinases, plasminogen activator inhibitor, transforming growth factors α and β, angiopoietin and Tie receptors, endothelin-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, adrenomedullin, and erythropoietin, which all affect glioma angiogenesis. In conclusion, HIF is a critical regulatory factor in the tumor microenvironment because of its central role in promoting proangiogenic and invasive properties. While HIF activation strongly promotes angiogenesis, the emerging vasculature is often abnormal, leading to a vicious cycle that causes further hypoxia and HIF upregulation.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is the major hypoxia-regulated transcription factor that regulates cellular responses to low oxygen environments. HIF-1 is composed of two subunits: hypoxia-inducible HIF-1α and constitutively-expressed HIF-1β. During hypoxic conditions, HIF-1α heterodimerizes with HIF-1β and translocates to the nucleus where the HIF-1 complex binds to the hypoxia-response element (HRE) and activates expression of target genes implicated in cell growth and survival. HIF-1α protein expression is elevated in many solid tumors, including those of the cervix and brain, where cells that are the greatest distance from blood vessels, and therefore the most hypoxic, express the highest levels of HIF-1α. Therapeutic blockade of the HIF-1 signaling pathway in cancer cells therefore provides an attractive strategy for development of anticancer drugs. To identify small molecule inhibitors of the HIF-1 pathway, we have developed a cell-based reporter gene assay and screened a large compound library by using a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) approach.
The assay is based upon a β-lactamase reporter under the control of a HRE. We have screened approximate 73,000 compounds by qHTS, with each compound tested over a range of seven to fifteen concentrations. After qHTS we have rapidly identified three novel structural series of HIF-1 pathway Inhibitors. Selected compounds in these series were also confirmed as inhibitors in a HRE β-lactamase reporter gene assay induced by low oxygen and in a VEGF secretion assay. Three of the four selected compounds tested showed significant inhibition of hypoxia-induced HIF-1α accumulation by western blot analysis.
The use of β-lactamase reporter gene assays, in combination with qHTS, enabled the rapid identification and prioritization of inhibitors specific to the hypoxia induced signaling pathway.
The HIF1- and HIF2-mediated transcriptional responses play critical roles in solid tumor progression. Despite significant similarities, including their binding to promoters of both HIF1 and HIF2 target genes, HIF1 and HIF2 proteins activate unique subsets of target genes under hypoxia. The mechanism for HIF target gene specificity has remained unclear. Using siRNA or inhibitor, we previously reported that STAT3 or USF2 is specifically required for activation of endogenous HIF1 or HIF2 target genes. In this study, using reporter gene assays and chromatin immuno-precipitation, we find that STAT3 or USF2 exhibits specific binding to the promoters of HIF1 or HIF2 target genes respectively even when over-expressed. Functionally, HIF1α interacts with STAT3 to activate HIF1 target gene promoters in a HIF1α HLH/PAS and N-TAD dependent manner while HIF2α interacts with USF2 to activate HIF2 target gene promoters in a HIF2α N-TAD dependent manner. Physically, HIF1α HLH and PAS domains are required for its interaction with STAT3 while both N- and C-TADs of HIF2α are involved in physical interaction with USF2. Importantly, addition of functional USF2 binding sites into a HIF1 target gene promoter increases the basal activity of the promoter as well as its response to HIF2+USF2 activation while replacing HIF binding site with HBS from a HIF2 target gene does not change the specificity of the reporter gene. Importantly, RNA Pol II on HIF1 or HIF2 target genes is primarily associated with HIF1α or HIF2α in a STAT3 or USF2 dependent manner. Thus, we demonstrate here for the first time that HIF target gene specificity is achieved by HIF transcription partners that are required for HIF target gene activation, exhibit specific binding to the promoters of HIF1 or HIF2 target genes and selectively interact with HIF1α or HIF2α protein.
Adaptation of cancer cells to their microenvironment is an important driving force in the clonal selection that leads to invasive and metastatic disease. O2 concentrations are markedly reduced in many human cancers compared to normal tissue and a major mechanism mediating adaptive responses to reduced O2 availability (hypoxia) is the regulation of transcription by hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). This review summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms by which HIF-1 contributes to cancer progression, focusing on (i) clinical data associating increased HIF-1 levels with patient mortality; (ii) preclinical data linking HIF-1 activity with tumor growth; (iii) molecular data linking specific HIF-1 target gene products to critical aspects of cancer biology; and (iv) pharmacological data demonstrating anti-cancer effects of HIF-1 inhibitors in mouse models of human cancer.
angiogenesis; chemotherapy; metabolism; oxygen; radiation therapy; transcription
The tumor suppressor homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) by phosphorylating serine 46 (Ser46) is a crucial regulator of p53 apoptotic function. HIPK2 is also a transcriptional co-repressor of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) restraining tumor angiogenesis and chemoresistance. HIPK2 can be deregulated in tumors by several mechanisms including hypoxia. Here, we sought to target hypoxia by restoring HIPK2 function and suppressing HIF-1α, in order to provide evidence for the involvement of both HIPK2 and p53 in counteracting hypoxia-induced chemoresistance.
Upon exposure of colon and lung cancer cells to hypoxia, by either low oxygen or cobalt, HIPK2 function was impaired allowing for increased HIF-1α expression and inhibiting the p53-apoptotic response to drug. Cobalt suppressed HIPK2 recruitment onto HIF-1α promoter. Hypoxia induced expression of the p53 target MDM2 that downregulates HIPK2, thus MDM2 inhibition by siRNA restored the HIPK2/p53Ser46 response to drug. Zinc supplementation to hypoxia-treated cells increased HIPK2 protein stability and nuclear accumulation, leading to restoration of HIPK2 binding to HIF-1α promoter, repression of MDR1, Bcl2, and VEGF genes, and activation of the p53 apoptotic response to drug. Combination of zinc and ADR strongly suppressed tumor growth in vivo by inhibiting HIF-1 pathway and upregulating p53 apoptotic target genes.
We show here for the first time that hypoxia-induced HIPK2 deregulation was counteracted by zinc that restored HIPK2 suppression of HIF-1 pathway and reactivated p53 apoptotic response to drug, underscoring the potential use of zinc supplementation in combination with chemotherapy to address hypoxia and improve tumor treatment.
Inhibition of HIF-1 is an attractive therapeutic strategy to target the tumor microenvironment. However, HIF-1 inhibitors may have limited activity as single agents and combination therapies may be required. We tested the hypothesis that HIF-1 inhibition in a hypoxic stressed tumor microenvironment, which could be generated by administration of antiangiogenic agents, may result in a more pronounced therapeutic effect. The activity of bevacizumab, either alone or in combination with the HIF-1α inhibitor topotecan, was evaluated in U251-HRE xenografts. Tumor tissue was collected at the end of treatment and changes in tumor oxygenation, angiogenesis, proliferation, apoptosis, HIF-1α levels, HIF-1 target genes and DNA damage were evaluated. Bevacizumab decreased microvessel-density and increased intratumor-hypoxia, but did not induce apoptosis. Moreover, bevacizumab alone caused a significant increase of HIF-1-dependent gene expression in tumor tissue. Addition of a low dose of daily topotecan to bevacizumab significantly inhibited tumor growth, relative to mice treated with topotecan or bevacizumab alone (p<0.01). The addition of topotecan to bevacizumab was also associated with profound inhibition of HIF-1 transcriptional activity, significant inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Importantly, DNA damage induced by topotecan alone was not augmented by addition of bevacizumab, suggesting that increased cytotoxic activity did not account for the increased anti-tumor effects observed.
These results strongly suggest that combination of anti-VEGF antibodies with HIF-1 inhibitors is an attractive therapeutic strategy targeting in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment.
HIF-1; topotecan; bevacizumab; hypoxia; angiogenesis; cancer therapeutics
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a potent tumorigenic factor. Its alpha subunit (HIF-1α), which is tightly regulated in normal tissues, is elevated in tumors due to hypoxia and overactive growth signaling pathways. Although much is known about HIF-1α regulation in cancer cells, crucial molecular targets that affect HIF-1α levels modulated by both hypoxia and oncogenic signaling pathways remain to be identified. Additionally, whether and how the tumor microenvironment contributes to HIF-1α accumulation is unclear. This study demonstrates a novel mechanism by which HIF-1α availability is regulated in both cancer cells and in myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment. We show a requirement of Stat3 for HIF-1α RNA expression under both hypoxia and growth signaling conditions. Furthermore, tumor-derived myeloid cells express elevated levels of HIF-1α mRNA relative to their counterparts from normal tissues in a Stat3-dependent manner. Additionally, Stat3 activity in the non-transformed cells in the tumor milieu impacts HIF-1α RNA expression of the entire growing tumor. Consistent with a role of Stat3 in regulating HIF-1α RNA transcription, elevated Stat3 activity increases HIF-1α promoter activity, and Stat3 protein binds to the HIF-1α promoter in both transformed cells and in growing tumors. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a novel mode by which HIF-1α is regulated not only in cancer cells but also in the tumor associated inflammatory cells, suggesting Stat3 as an important molecular target for inhibiting the oncogenic potential of HIF-1 induced by both hypoxia and overactive growth signaling pathways prevalent in cancer.
Correlation among 16 biological factors [p53, p21waf1, MIB-1 (Ki-67), p16INK4A, cyclin D1, E-cadherin, Bcl-2, TNF-α, NF-κB, TGF-β, MMP-7, COX-2, EGFR, HER2/neu, ER, and HIF-1α] and clinical outcomes following curative chemoradiation therapy in 10 patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
The expression levels of 16 proteins were analyzed to identify prognostic correlations in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) treated with concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CCRT). The immunohistochemical expression levels of p53, p21waf1, molecular immunology borstel-1 (MIB-1, Ki-67), p16INK4A, cyclin D1, E-cadherin, Bcl-2, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, nuclear factor (NF)-κB, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-7, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), human EGFR type 2 (HER2/neu), estrogen receptor (ER) and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α were studied in 10 cases of ESCC treated with CCRT. The patients underwent CCRT between 2000 and 2010. The mean patient age was 68.1 years (range, 46-80 years). The numbers of patients in stages I, II, III and IV of the disease were 2, 2, 3 and 3, respectively. Of the tumors, 8 were positive for p53, 6 for p21waf1, 7 for MIB-1 (Ki-67), 7 for p16INK4A, 7 for cyclin D1, 8 for E-cadherin, 3 for Bcl-2, 0 for TNF-α, 5 for NF-κB, 7 for TGF-β, 9 for MMP-7, 7 for COX-2, 5 for EGFR, 1 for HER2/neu, 1 for ER and 7 for HIF-1α. The 2-year overall survival rate of patients expressing high levels of MIB-1 was 71% (±17%) compared with 0% (P=0.019) for those expressing low levels. For NF-κB, the rate was 0% for patients with high levels compared with 100% (P<0.018) for those with low levels. The 2-year local control rates of HER2/neu were 0% in patients expressing high levels and 88% (±12%) in patients expressing low levels (P=0.027). The 2-year disease-free survival rates of HER2/neu and ER were 0% for patients expressing high levels compared with 56% (±17%) for those with low levels (P=0.027). There were no significant correlations between the expression levels of the other proteins and clinical outcomes. In the present study, high levels of MIB-1 and low levels of NF-κB, HER2 and ER were shown to be good prognostic factors following definitive CCRT for ESCC.
esophageal cancer; imunohistochemistry; squamous cell carcinoma; prognostic factors; biological markers
Most solid tumors and their metastases experience periods of low oxygen or hypoxia, which is of major clinical significance as it promotes both tumor progression and resistance to therapy. Critical mediators of the hypoxic response are the hypoxia-inducible factors HIF-1α and HIF-2α. The HIFs are nonredundant and regulate both overlapping and unique downstream target genes. Here, we describe a novel mechanism for the switch between HIF-1α– and HIF-2α–dependent transcription during tumor hypoxia caused by the hypoxia associated factor (HAF). HAF is overexpressed in a variety of tumors and its levels are decreased during acute hypoxia, but increased following prolonged hypoxia. We have previously identified HAF as an E3 ubiquitin ligase that binds and ubiquitinates HIF-1α by an oxygen and pVHL-independent mechanism, thus targeting HIF-1α for proteasomal degradation. Here, we show that HAF also binds to HIF-2α, but at a different site than HIF-1α, and increases HIF-2α transactivation without causing its degradation. HAF, thus, switches the hypoxic response of the cancer cell from HIF-1α–dependent to HIF-2α–dependent transcription and activates genes involved in invasion such as MMP9, PAI-1, and the stem cell factor OCT-3/4. The switch to HIF-2α–dependent gene expression caused by HAF also promotes an enriched tumor stem cell population, resulting in highly aggressive tumors in vivo. Thus, HAF, by causing a switch from a HIF-1α– to HIF-2α–dependent response to hypoxia, provides a mechanism for more aggressive growth of tumors under prolonged hypoxia.
Human solid tumors contain hypoxic regions that have considerably lower oxygen tension than normal tissues. They are refractory to radiotherapy and anticancer chemotherapy. Although more than half a century has passed since it was suggested that tumour hypoxia correlates with poor treatment outcomes and contributes to recurrence of cancer, no fundamental solution to this problem has been found. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1(HIF-1) is the main transcription factor that regulates the cellular response to hypoxia. It induces various genes, whose function is strongly associated with malignant alteration of the entire tumour. The cellular changes induced by HIF-1 are extremely important therapeutic targets of cancer therapy, particularly in therapy against refractory cancers. Therefore, targeting strategies to overcome the HIF-1-active microenvironment are important for cancer therapy. To Target HIF-1-active/ hypoxic tumor cells, we developed a fusion protein drug, PTD-ODD-Procaspase-3 that selectively induces cell death in HIF-1-active/hypoxic cells. The drug consists of the following three functional domains: the protein transduction domain (PTD), which efficiently delivers the fusion protein to hypoxic tumor cells, the ODD domain, which has a VHL-mediated protein destruction motif of human HIF-1α protein and confers hypoxia-dependent stabilization to the fusion proteins, and the human procaspase-3 proenzyme responsible for the cytocidal activity of the protein drug. In vivo imaging systems capable of monitoring HIF-1 activity in transplanted human cancer cells in mice are useful in evaluating the efficiency of these drugs and in study of HIF-1-active tumor cells.
hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1); tumour hypoxia; hypoxia responsive element (HRE); protein transduction domain (PTD); bioluminescence; in vivo imaging
Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein (IGFBP)-3 is overexpressed frequently in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Yet, the role of IGFBP3 in esophageal tumor biology remains to be elucidated. We find that IGFBP3 facilitates transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in transformed human esophageal epithelial cells, EPC2–hTERT–EGFR–p53R175H. In organotypic 3D culture, a form of human tissue engineering, laser-capture microdissection revealed concurrent upregulation of TGF-β target genes, IGFBP3 and EMT-related genes in the cells invading into the stromal compartment. IGFBP3 enhanced TGF-β1-mediated EMT as well as transcription factors essential in EMT by allowing persistent SMAD2 and SMAD3 phosphorylation. TGF-β1-mediated EMT and cell invasion were enhanced by ectopically expressed IGFBP3 and suppressed by RNA interference directed against IGFBP3. The IGFBP3 knockdown effect was rescued by IGFBP3I56G/L80G/L81G, a mutant IGFBP3 lacking an insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding capacity. Thus, IGFBP3 can regulate TGF-β1-mediated EMT and cell invasion in an IGF or insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor-independent manner. IGFBP3I56G/L80G/L81G also promoted EMT in vivo in a Ras-transformed human esophageal cell line T-TeRas upon xenograft transplantation in nude mice. In aggregate, IGFBP3 may have a novel IGF-binding independent biological function in regulation of TGF-β1-mediated EMT and cell invasion.
The hypoxia-inducible factors 1α (HIF-1α) and 2α (HIF-2α) have extensive structural homology and have been identified as key transcription factors responsible for gene expression in response to hypoxia. They play critical roles not only in normal development, but also in tumor progression. Here we report on the differential regulation of protein expression and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α and -2α by hypoxia in immortalized mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs). We show that oxygen-dependent protein degradation is restricted to HIF-1α, as HIF-2α protein is detected in MEFs regardless of oxygenation and is localized primarily to the cytoplasm. Endogenous HIF-2α remained transcriptionally inactive under hypoxic conditions; however, ectopically overexpressed HIF-2α translocated into the nucleus and could stimulate expression of hypoxia-inducible genes. We show that the factor inhibiting HIF-1 can selectively inhibit the transcriptional activity of HIF-1α but has no effect on HIF-2α-mediated transcription in MEFs. We propose that HIF-2α is not a redundant transcription factor of HIF-1α for hypoxia-induced gene expression and show evidence that there is a cell type-specific modulator(s) that enables selective activation of HIF-1α but not HIF-2α in response to low-oxygen stress.
In rapidly growing tumors, hypoxia commonly develops due to the imbalance between O2 consumption and supply. Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF)-1α is a transcription factor responsible for tumor growth and angiogenesis in the hypoxic microenvironment; thus, its inhibition is regarded as a promising strategy for cancer therapy. Given that CamKII or PARP inhibitors are emerging anticancer agents, we investigated if they have the potential to be developed as new HIF-1α-targeting drugs. When treating various cancer cells with the inhibitors, we found that a CamKII inhibitor, KN-62, effectively suppressed HIF-1α specifically in hepatoma cells. To examine the effect of KN-62 on HIF-1α-driven gene expression, we analyzed the EPO-enhancer reporter activity and mRNA levels of HIF-1α downstream genes, such as EPO, LOX and CA9. Both the reporter activity and the mRNA expression were repressed by KN-62. We also found that KN-62 suppressed HIF-1α by impairing synthesis of HIF-1α protein. Based on these results, we propose that KN-62 is a candidate as a HIF-1α-targeting anticancer agent.
CaMKII; HIF1-α; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hypoxia; KN-62
Hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is responsible for the majority of HIF-1-induced gene expression changes under hypoxia and for the “angiogenic switch” during tumor progression. HIF-1α is often upregulated in tumors leading to more aggressive tumor growth and chemoresistance, therefore representing an important target for antitumor intervention. We previously reported that zinc downregulated HIF-1α levels. Here, we evaluated the molecular mechanisms of zinc-induced HIF-1α downregulation and whether zinc affected HIF-1α also in vivo.
Here we report that zinc downregulated HIF-1α protein levels in human prostate cancer and glioblastoma cells under hypoxia, whether induced or constitutive. Investigations into the molecular mechanisms showed that zinc induced HIF-1α proteasomal degradation that was prevented by treatment with proteasomal inhibitor MG132. HIF-1α downregulation induced by zinc was ineffective in human RCC4 VHL-null renal carcinoma cell line; likewise, the HIF-1αP402/P564A mutant was resistant to zinc treatment. Similarly to HIF-1α, zinc downregulated also hypoxia-induced HIF-2α whereas the HIF-1β subunit remained unchanged. Zinc inhibited HIF-1α recruitment onto VEGF promoter and the zinc-induced suppression of HIF-1-dependent activation of VEGF correlated with reduction of glioblastoma and prostate cancer cell invasiveness in vitro. Finally, zinc administration downregulated HIF-1α levels in vivo, by bioluminescence imaging, and suppressed intratumoral VEGF expression.
These findings, by demonstrating that zinc induces HIF-1α proteasomal degradation, indicate that zinc could be useful as an inhibitor of HIF-1α in human tumors to repress important pathways involved in tumor progression, such as those induced by VEGF, MDR1, and Bcl2 target genes, and hopefully potentiate the anticancer therapies.
Tumor cells respond to the harsh hypoxic microenvironment, in part, by transcriptional regulation of specific target genes. We found that hypoxia-mediated activation of selected genes occurs amidst widespread repression of transcription that is neither cell type-specific nor HIF-1-dependent. Despite overall repression, hypoxia induces a pool of histone modifications typically associated with transcriptional activation or repression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses showed that this global mixture of hypoxia-modified histones is sorted in a gene-specific manner to correlate with transcriptional response to hypoxia. Exceptions to this were unexpected increases in H3K4me3 levels, typically associated with transcriptional activation, and decreased H3K27me3 levels, generally a marker of transcriptional silencing, at core promoters of both hypoxia-activated and -repressed genes. These data suggest that a novel signature of chromatin modifications is induced under hypoxic stress, which may play a role in gene regulatory switches active in proliferating tumor cells undergoing cycles of hypoxia and reoxygenation.
Hypoxia is a feature of most solid tumors and is associated with poor prognosis in several cancer types, including breast cancer. The master regulator of the hypoxic response is the Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). It is becoming clear that HIF-1α expression alone is not a reliable marker of tumor response to hypoxia, and recent studies have focused on determining gene and microRNA (miRNA) signatures for this complex process. The results of these studies are likely to pave the way towards the development of a robust hypoxia signature for breast and other cancers that will be useful for diagnosis and therapy. In this review, we outline the existing markers of hypoxia and recently identified gene and miRNA expression signatures, and discuss their potential as prognostic and predictive biomarkers. We also highlight how the hypoxia response is being targeted in the development of cancer therapies.
Hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) monitors the cellular response to the oxygen levels in solid tumors. Under hypoxia conditions, HIF-1α protein is stabilized and forms a heterodimer with the HIF-1β subunit. The HIF-1 complex activates the transcription of numerous target genes in order to adapt the hypoxic environment in human cancer cells. In gastric cancer patients, HIF-1α activation following extended hypoxia strongly correlates with an aggressive tumor phenotype and a poor prognosis. HIF-1α activation has been also reported to occur via hypoxia-independent mechanisms such as PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling and ROS production. This article argues for the critical roles of HIF-1α in glucose metabolism, carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis, cell survival and chemoresistance, focusing on gastric cancer.
HIF-1α; hypoxia; gastric cancer
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) overexpression has been linked to tumor progression and poor prognosis. We investigated whether targeting of HIF-1 using chetomin, a disrupter of the interaction of HIF-1 with the transcriptional coactivator p300, influences the radiosensitivity of hypoxic HT 1080 human fibrosarcoma cells.
Optimal dose of chetomin was determined by EGFP-HRE gene reporter assay in stably transfected HT 1080 cells. Cells were assayed for expression of the hypoxia-inducible genes carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by RT-PCR and for clonogenic survival after irradiation with 2, 5 or 10 Gy, under normoxic or hypoxic (0.1% O2, 12 h) conditions in the presence or absence of chetomin (150 nM, 12 h, pre-treatment of 4 h).
Chetomin treatment significantly reduced CA9 and VEGF mRNA expression in hypoxic cells to 44.4 ± 7.2% and 39.6 ± 16.0%, respectively, of untreated hypoxic controls. Chetomin clearly reduced the modified oxygen enhancement ratio (OER') compared to untreated cells, from 2.02 to 1.27, from 1.86 to 1.22 and from 1.49 to 1.06 at the 50%, 37% and 10% clonogenic survival levels, respectively.
HIF-1 inhibition by chetomin effectively reduces hypoxia-dependent transcription and radiosensitizes hypoxic HT 1080 human fibrosarcoma cells in vitro.
There is a need to develop more potent oncolytic adenoviruses that exhibit increased anti-tumor activity in patients. The HYPR-Ads are targeted oncolytic adenoviruses that specifically kill tumor cells which express active hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). While therapeutically efficacious, the HYPR-Ads exhibited attenuated replication and oncolytic activity. To overcome these deficiencies and improve anti-tumor efficacy, we created new HIF-activated oncolytic Ads, HIF-Ad and HIF-Ad-IL4, which have two key changes: (i) a modified HIF-responsive promoter to regulate the E1A replication gene and (ii) insertion of the E3 gene region. The HIF-Ads demonstrated conditional activation of E1A expression under hypoxia. Importantly, the HIF-Ads exhibit hypoxia-dependent replication, oncolytic, and cellular release activities and potent anti-tumor efficacy, all of which are significantly greater than the HYPR-Ads. Notably, HIF-Ad-IL4 treatment led to regressions in tumor size by 70% and extensive tumor infiltration by leukocytes resulting in an anti-tumor efficacy that is up to 6-fold greater than the HYPR-Ads, HIF-Ad, and wild-type adenovirus treatment. These studies demonstrate that treatment with a HIF-activated oncolytic adenovirus leads to a measurable therapeutic response. The novel design of the HIF-Ads represents a significant improvement compared to first-generation oncolytic Ads and has great potential to increase the efficacy of this cancer therapy.
hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF); adenovirus; tumor; oncolytic; virotherapy; interleukin-4
Hypoxia Inducible Factors 1 and 2 (HIF1 and HIF2) are heterodimeric transcription factors consisting of alpha regulatory subunits and a constitutively expressed beta subunit. The expression of alpha regulatory subunits is promoted by hypoxia, cancer-associated mutations and inflammatory cytokines. Thus, HIF1 and HIF2 provide a molecular link between cancer and inflammation. We have recently identified novel small molecules that selectively inhibit translation of the HIF2a message and thereby powerfully inhibit the expression of HIF2a target genes. We report here that Connectivity Map analysis links three of these compounds to the anti-inflammatory cytokine 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-Prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2). As with our identified compounds, PGJ2 inhibits translation of the HIF2a message in an mTOR independent manner by promoting the binding of Iron Regulatory Protein-1 (IRP1) to a non-canonical Iron Responsive Element (IRE) embedded within the 5′-UTR of the HIF2a message. The IRE is necessary and sufficient for mediating the effect. Mutation of the IRE sequence, or down regulation of IRP1 expression, blocks the effect of PGJ2 on HIF2a translation. This is the first report of an endogenous natural molecule regulating HIF2a translation and it suggests that part of the anti-inflammatory and putative anti-neoplastic effects of PGJ2 may be mediated through inhibition of HIF2a within tumor epithelial cells themselves and/or mesenchymal cells of the tumor microenvironment.
Renal Cancer; hypoxia; prostaglandin; angiogenesis; iron
Transcription mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1) contributes to tumor angiogenesis and metastasis but is also involved in activation of cell-death pathways and normal physiological processes. Given the complexity of HIF-1 signaling, it could be advantageous to target a subset of HIF-1 effectors rather than the entire pathway. We compare the genome-wide effects of three molecules that each interfere with the HIF-1–DNA interaction: a polyamide targeted to the hypoxia response element, small interfering RNA targeted to HIF-1α, and echinomycin, a DNA-binding natural product with a similar but less specific sequence preference than the polyamide. The polyamide affects a subset of hypoxia-induced genes consistent with its binding site preferences. For comparison, HIF-1α siRNA and echinomycin each affect the expression of nearly every gene induced by hypoxia. Remarkably, the total number of genes affected by either polyamide or HIF-1α siRNA over a range of thresholds is comparable. The data show that polyamides can be used to affect a subset of a pathway regulated by a transcription factor. In addition, this study offers a unique comparison of three complementary approaches towards exogenous control of endogenous gene expression.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) alpha and its downstream targets carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are key factors in the survival of proliferating tumor cells in a hypoxic microenvironment. We studied the expression and prognostic relevance of HIF-1α and its downstream targets in phyllodes tumors and fibroadenomas of the breast.
The expression of HIF-1α, CAIX, VEGF and p53 was investigated by immunohistochemistry in a group of 37 primary phyllodes tumors and 30 fibroadenomas with known clinical follow-up. The tumor microvasculature was visualized by immunohistochemistry for CD31. Proliferation was assessed by Ki67 immunostaining and mitotic counts. Being biphasic tumors, immunoquantification was performed in the stroma and epithelium.
Only two fibroadenomas displayed low-level stromal HIF-1α reactivity in the absence of CAIX expression. Stromal HIF-1α expression was positively correlated with phyllodes tumor grade (P = 0.001), with proliferation as measured by Ki67 expression (P < 0.001) and number of mitoses (P < 0.001), with p53 accumulation (P = 0.003), and with global (P = 0.015) and hot-spot (P = 0.031) microvessel counts, but not with CAIX expression. Interestingly, concerted CAIX and HIF-1α expression was frequently found in morphologically normal epithelium of phyllodes tumors. The distance from the epithelium to the nearest microvessels was higher in phyllodes tumors as compared with in fibroadenomas. Microvessel counts as such did not differ between fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors, however. High expression of VEGF was regularly found in both tumors, with only a positive relation between stromal VEGF and grade in phyllodes tumors (P = 0.016). Stromal HIF-1α overexpression in phyllodes tumors was predictive of disease-free survival (P = 0.032).
These results indicate that HIF-1α expression is associated with diminished disease-free survival and may play an important role in stromal progression of breast phyllodes tumors. In view of the absence of stromal CAIX expression in phyllodes tumors, stromal upregulation of HIF-1α most probably arises from hypoxia-independent pathways, with p53 inactivation as one possible cause. In contrast, coexpression of HIF-1α and CAIX in the epithelium in phyllodes tumors points to epithelial hypoxia, most probably caused by relatively distant blood vessels. On the other hand, HIF-1α and CAIX seem to be of minor relevance in breast fibroadenomas.
Hypoxia, a reduction in partial oxygen pressure, is a salient property of solid tumors. Hypoxia drives malignant progression and metastasis in tumors and participates in tumor resistance to radio- and chemotherapies. Hypoxia activates the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) family of transcription factors, which induce target genes that regulate adaptive biological processes such as anaerobic metabolism, cell motility and angiogenesis. Clinical evidence has demonstrated that expression of HIF-1 is strongly associated with poor patient prognosis and activation of HIF-1 contributes to malignant behavior and therapeutic resistance. Consequently, HIF-1 has become an important therapeutic target for inhibition by small molecules. Herein, we describe the design and synthesis of small molecules that inhibit the HIF-1 signaling pathway. Many of these compounds exhibit inhibitory activity in the nanomolar range. Separate mechanistic studies indicate that these inhibitors do not alter HIF-1 levels, but interfere with the HIF-1α/HIF-1β/p300/CBP complex formation by interacting with p300 and CBP.
drug development; cancer; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor; transcription factor
Glioblastomas are lethal cancers characterized by florid angiogenesis promoted in part by glioma stem cells (GSCs). As hypoxia regulates angiogenesis, we examined hypoxic responses in GSCs. We now demonstrate that hypoxia-inducible factor HIF2α and multiple HIF-regulated genes are preferentially expressed in GSCs in comparison to nonstem tumor cells and normal neural progenitors. In tumor specimens, HIF2α co-localizes with cancer stem cell markers. Targeting HIFs in GSCs inhibits self-renewal, proliferation and survival in vitro, and attenuates tumor initiation potential of GSCs in vivo. Analysis of a molecular database reveals that HIF2A expression correlates with poor glioma patient survival. Our results demonstrate that GSCs differentially respond to hypoxia with distinct HIF induction patterns and HIF2α may represent a promising target for anti-glioblastoma therapies.
Recent evidence supports the presence of cancer stem cell populations that contribute to tumor progression through preferential resistance to radiation and chemotherapy, and promotion of tumor angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis. Therefore, the elucidation of molecular regulators of cancer stem cells may translate into improved anti-neoplastic therapies. Our work demonstrates that cancer stem cells derived from glioblastomas differentially respond to hypoxia with a distinct induction of HIF2α. We find that HIFs are critical to cancer stem cell maintenance and angiogenic drive, and that expression of HIF2α is significantly associated with poor glioma patient survival. These data further suggest that anti-angiogenic therapies can be designed to target cancer stem cell specific molecules involved in neoangiogenesis, including HIF2α and its regulated factors.
Drug resistance is a major factor for the limited efficacy of chemotherapy in gastric cancer treatment. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), a central transcriptional factor in hypoxia, is suggested to participate in the resistance. Here, we identified a hypoxia-mimic (cobalt chloride) sensitive gastric cell line BGC-823 to explore whether diosgenin, an aglycone of steroidal saponins, can inhibit cancer cell invasion and survival of solid tumor in a hypoxic mimic microenvironment. We have shown that diosgenin is a potent candidate for decreasing the ability of invasion and survival in cobalt chloride treated BGC-823 cells. In addition, when combined with HIF-1α specific short hairpin RNA (shRNA), diosgenin can inhibit BGC-823 cells more effectively. The anti-invasion role of diosgenin may be related to E-cadherin, integrinα5 and integrin β6. These results suggest that diosgenin may be a useful compound in controlling gastric cancer cells in hypoxia condition, especially when combined with down-regulated HIF-1α.
gastric cancer; HIF-1α; hypoxia; shRNA; diosgenin