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Cancer Res. 2007 Aug 15;67(16):7789-97.

Hypoxia enhances metastatic efficiency in HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells by increasing cell survival in lungs, not cell adhesion and invasion.

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  • 1Research Division, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


This study examined possible mechanisms for hypoxia-increased metastasis in a green fluorescent protein-labeled human fibrosarcoma cell line (HT1080). The efficiency of the lung arrest of tumor cells, which can be dependent on the adhesive potential of the tumor cells, was assessed by measuring the level of integrin alpha3beta1 protein and by adhesion assays, whereas the extravasation potential was examined by an invasion assay. These properties were not changed by exposure to hypoxia, indicating that lung arrest and extravasation are unlikely to play a major role in the effect of hypoxia on metastasis in this model. The main effect of hypoxic exposure was found to be increased survival after lung arrest as determined by clonogenic assay of tumor cells recovered from mouse lungs after i.v. injection. Concomitantly, apoptosis was identified as responsible for the death of lung-arrested cells, suggesting the involvement of an altered apoptotic response following hypoxic exposure of these cells. Consistent with this finding, we found that the effect of hypoxia on both increased metastasis and survival of arrested cells was inhibited by treatment with farnesylthiosalicylic acid. However, this effect was not due to down-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha, a mechanism of action of this drug reported by previous studies. Further detailed studies of the mechanisms of action of the drug are needed.

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