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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Jul 15;53(4):854-61.

Expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha in cervical carcinomas: correlation with tumor oxygenation.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To investigate the relations between hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), tumor oxygenation, and clinical correlates in patients with locally advanced carcinoma of the uterine cervix.


Biopsies from 42 patients with invasive cervical carcinoma and previous polarographic O2 measurements were assessed for the expression of HIF-1alpha using digitized microscopic imaging and analysis.


The HIF-1alpha expression levels ranged from <0.1% to 10.7% of the total tumor area; the positive staining was localized exclusively to the nuclei. Three distinct arrangement patterns of HIF-1alpha-positive cells in relation to blood vessels were identified using spatial image mapping: (1) most HIF-1alpha-positive cells were located within the typical oxygen diffusion distance in tissue (< or =150 microm to the nearest blood vessel); (2) most HIF-1alpha-positive cells were located in the vicinity (< or =60 microm) of the blood vessels; and (3) no apparent spatial relationship was found between HIF-1alpha-positive cells and blood vessels. A statistically significant association was found between HIF-1alpha expression and tumor oxygenation (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.4, p <0.01), as determined with the Eppendorf pO2 histograph. No correlation was found between the level of HIF-1alpha expression and patient outcome, using disease-free survival as the end point.


Our results suggest that HIF-1alpha expression may represent a useful biologic marker for hypoxia in uterine cervical cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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