Hypoxia-inducible factors HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha in head and neck cancer: relationship to tumor biology and treatment outcome in surgically resected patients.
Beasley NJP., Leek R., Alam M., Turley H., Cox GJ., Gatter K., Millard P., Fuggle S., Harris AL.
Hypoxia within head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) predicts a poor response to radiotherapy and poor prognosis. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 and HIF-2 are nuclear transcription factors that regulate the cellular response to hypoxia and are important for solid tumor growth and survival. Overexpression of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha was demonstrated in three HNSCC cell lines under hypoxia and tumor tissue versus normal tissue (n = 20, HIF-1alpha, P = 0.023; HIF-2alpha, P = 0.013). On immunostaining, HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha expression were localized to tumor nuclei; HIF-2alpha expression was also seen in tumor-associated macrophages. Expression of HIF-1alpha in surgically treated patients with HNSCC (n = 79) was associated with improved disease-free survival (P = 0.016) and overall survival (P = 0.027).