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The central component of hypoxia sensing in the cell is the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) transcriptional complex. HIF activity is deregulated in many human cancers, especially those that are highly hypoxic. Hypoxic tumour cells are usually resistant to radiotherapy and most conventional chemotherapeutic agents, rendering them highly aggressive and metastatic. Overexpression of HIF-alpha, the regulatory subunit of HIF, is associated with increased vascular density, severity of tumour grade, treatment failure and a poor prognostic outcome with conventional therapies. Therefore HIF is an attractive, although challenging, therapeutic target, and several different strategies have been developed to target HIF directly or indirectly in recent years. This review outlines the preclinical and clinical advances in this arena and discusses which cancers may benefit from HIF-targeted therapy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1017/S1462399409001173

Type

Journal article

Journal

Expert Rev Mol Med

Publication Date

27/08/2009

Volume

11

Keywords

Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Cell Hypoxia, Humans, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Neoplasms, Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase, Signal Transduction, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53