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The HIF-2alpha-Driven Pseudo-Hypoxic Phenotype in Tumor Aggressiveness, Differentiation, and Vascularization.

  • Alexander Pietras
  • Sofie Mohlin
  • Sven Påhlman
  • M. Celeste Simon
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 1-20
Publication/Series: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
Volume: 345
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Abstract english

Cellular adaptation to diminished tissue oxygen tensions, hypoxia, is largely governed by the hypoxia inducible transcription factors, HIF-1 and HIF-2. Tumor hypoxia and high HIF protein levels are frequently associated with aggressive disease. In recent years, high tumor cell levels of HIF-2 and the oxygen sensitive subunit HIF-2alpha have been associated with unfavorable disease and shown to be highly expressed in tumor stem/initiating cells originating from neuroblastoma and glioma, respectively. In these cells, HIF-2 is active under nonhypoxic conditions as well, creating a pseudo-hypoxic phenotype with clear influence on tumor behavior. Neuroblastoma tumor initiating cells are immature with a neural crest-like phenotype and downregulation of HIF-2alpha in these cells results in neuronal sympathetic differentiation and the cells become phenotypically similar to the bulk of neuroblastoma cells found in clinical specimens. Knockdown of HIF-2alpha in neuroblastoma and glioma tumor stem/initiating cells leads to reduced levels of VEGF and poorly vascularized, highly necrotic tumors. As high HIF-2alpha expression further correlates with disseminated disease as demonstrated in neuroblastoma, glioma, and breast carcinoma, we propose that targeting HIF-2alpha and/or the pseudo-hypoxic phenotype induced by HIF-2 under normoxic conditions has great clinical potential.


  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Brain Tumor Biology
  • ISSN: 0070-217X
  • ISBN: 978-3-642-13328-2
Sven Påhlman
E-mail: sven [dot] pahlman [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se


Division of Translational Cancer Research

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