Hypoxic gene expression and metastasis.
Le Q-T., Denko NC., Giaccia AJ.
Solid tumors possess malformed vasculature that results in the exposure of tumor cells to a low oxygen environment. Tumor hypoxia has been demonstrated in human and mouse tumors through the use of oxygen microelectrodes, hypoxic specific biomarkers, specific transcriptional changes induced by hypoxia, and secreted proteins. While many elegant experiments have demonstrated that hypoxia enhances metastatic potential, it is still unknown what mechanisms are involved in this enhancement. In this review, we discuss the clinical and basic science studies that support an important role for hypoxia in increasing the metastatic potential of tumor cells by promoting tissue remodeling, inducing angiogenesis and reducing apoptosis. Particular emphasis is given to recent findings that provide insight to the role of hypoxia in the metastatic process.