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Cancer Cell. 2005 Aug;8(2):131-41.

Genetic evidence for a tumor suppressor role of HIF-2alpha.

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Edinger Institute, Neuropathology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany.


The hypoxia-inducible transcription factors HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha are activated in hypoxic tumor regions. However, their role in tumorigenesis remains controversial, as tumor growth promoter and suppressor activities have been ascribed to HIF-1alpha, while the role of HIF-2alpha remains largely unknown. Here, we show that overexpression of HIF-2alpha in rat glioma tumors enhances angiogenesis but reduces growth of these tumors, in part by increasing tumor cell apoptosis. Moreover, siRNA knockdown of HIF-2alpha reduced apoptosis in hypoxic human malignant glioblastoma cells. Furthermore, inhibition of HIF by overexpression of a dominant-negative HIF transgene in glioma cells or HIF-2alpha deficiency in teratomas reduced vascularization but accelerated growth of these tumor types. These findings urge careful consideration of using HIF inhibitors as cancer therapeutic strategies.

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