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Hypoxia occurs in solid tumours due to a mismatch between tumour growth and angiogenesis. Hypoxia in solid tumours is associated with an aggressive phenotype and resistance to radiation therapy and chemotherapy leading to poor patient prognosis. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor, which is activated in response to intratumoural hypoxia and as a result of genetic alterations that activate oncogenes and inactivate tumour suppressor genes. It plays a key role in the adaptation of tumour cells to hypoxia by activating the transcription of genes, which regulate several biological processes including angiogenesis, cell proliferation and survival, glucose metabolism, pH regulation and migration. This makes HIF-1 an attractive target for the development of anticancer agents. The success of these agents depends on reliable methods to identify those patients most likely to benefit from HIF-1-targeted therapy. Several novel small molecule inhibitors of HIF-1 have been identified and are moving towards clinical trials, but none of these are specific for HIF-1. Further work is ongoing to identify more selective HIF-1 inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Endocr Relat Cancer

Publication Date



13 Suppl 1


S61 - S75


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Biomarkers, Cell Hypoxia, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Models, Biological, Neoplasms, Oxygen Consumption, Prognosis, Signal Transduction