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Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Nov;8(11):851-64. doi: 10.1038/nrc2501. Epub 2008 Oct 10.

Hypoxia signalling through mTOR and the unfolded protein response in cancer.

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  • 1Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Hypoxia occurs in the majority of tumours, promoting angiogenesis, metastasis and resistance to therapy. Responses to hypoxia are orchestrated in part through activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor family of transcription factors (HIFs). Recently, two additional O(2)-sensitive signalling pathways have also been implicated: signalling through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase and signalling through activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Although they are activated independently, growing evidence suggests that HIF-, mTOR- and UPR-dependent responses to hypoxia act in an integrated way, influencing each other and common downstream pathways that affect gene expression, metabolism, cell survival, tumorigenesis and tumour growth.

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