c-erbB-2 related aggressiveness in breast cancer is hypoxia inducible factor-1alpha dependent.
Giatromanolaki A., Koukourakis MI., Simopoulos C., Polychronidis A., Gatter KC., Harris AL., Sivridis E.
c-erbB-2-positive breast carcinomas are highly aggressive tumors. In vitro data on breast cell lines showed that c-erbB-2 enhanced translational efficiency of hypoxia inducible factor-1alpha (HIF1alpha) production (Laughner et al., Mol Cell Biol 2001;21:3995-4005). We investigated the clinical correlate of this observation to assess whether c-erbB-2 expression was related to HIF1alpha expression, angiogenesis, and prognosis. A series of 180 breast carcinomas of known c-erbB-2 status (90 c-erbB-2-positive and 90 c-erbB-2-negative carcinomas) were stained immunohistochemically for HIF1alpha and CD31 endothelial cell antigen. c-erbB-2 positivity was clearly related to HIF1alpha protein expression and high angiogenesis. However, prognosis was decreased only in cases with simultaneous c-erbB-2 and HIF1alpha expression. If activation of c-erbB-2 in humans results in overexpression of HIF1alpha independently of conditions of hypoxia, as occur in experimental studies, this interaction may represent a main pathway conferring clinical aggressiveness to c-erbB-2-positive breast tumors.