The hypoxic tumor microenvironment and gene expression.
Leo C., Giaccia AJ., Denko NC.
Solid tumors are not static entities but are constantly responding to environmental signals as they grow and develop. One mechanism by which they respond to the adverse conditions of the tumor microenvironment is through coordinated changes in gene expression. The synchronized turning of genes on and off leads to biologic adaption to the adverse oxygen-poor environment. Because tumor hypoxia can be found in almost every solid tumor, it represents one of the most pervasive microenvironmental stresses that can impact malignant progression and therapeutic response. Interestingly, tumors that exhibit robust induction of hypoxia-responsive gene expression networks show a clinically more aggressive natural history. The contribution of hypoxia-responsive gene networks to malignant response is currently under investigation. An understanding of the coordinated functions of hypoxia induced and repressed genes can lead to a better understanding of the clinical significance of the hypoxic tumor phenotype.