HIF-1alpha role in oxygen-dependent radio- and chemosensitivity

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Gebolys, Kinga
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University College Cork
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Poor oxygenation (hypoxia) is a common characteristic of human solid tumours, and is associated with cell survival, metastasis and resistance to radio- and chemotherapies. Hypoxia-induced stabilisation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) leads to changes in expression of various genes associated with growth, vascularisation and metabolism. However whether HIF-1α plays a causal role in promoting hypoxic resistance to antitumour therapies remains unclear. In this study we used pharmacological and genetic methods to investigate the HIF-1α contribution to radio- and chemoresistance in four cancer cell lines derived from cervical, breast, prostate and melanoma human tumours. Under normoxia or hypoxia (<0.2% or 0.5% oxygen) the cells were exposed to either a standard irradiation dose (6.2 Gy) or chemotherapeutic drug (cisplatin), and subsequent cell proliferation (after 7 days) was measured in terms of resazurin reduction. Oxygen-dependent radio- and chemosensitivity was evident in all wild type whereas it was reduced or abolished in HIF-1α (siRNA) knockdown cells. The effects of HIF-1α-modulating drugs (EDHB, CoCl2, deferoxamine to stabilise and R59949 to destabilise it) reflected both HIF-1α-dependent and independent mechanisms. Collectively the data show that HIF-1α played a causal role in our in vitro model of hypoxia-induced radioresistance whereas its contribution to oxygendependent sensitivity to cisplatin was less clear-cut. Although this behavior is likely to be conditioned by further biological and physical factors operating in vivo, it is consistent with the hypothesis that interventions directed at HIF-1α may improve the clinical effectiveness of tumour treatments.
HIF-1alpha , Cancer , Hypoxia , Oxygen-dependent radioresistance , Oxygen-dependent chemoresistance
Gebolys, K. 2014. HIF-1alpha role in oxygen-dependent radio- and chemosensitivity. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.