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Oncogene. 2011 Feb 3;30(5):548-60. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.433. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Prolyl-4-hydroxylase PHD2- and hypoxia-inducible factor 2-dependent regulation of amphiregulin contributes to breast tumorigenesis.

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Institute of Physiology and Zürich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.


Hypoxia-elicited adaptations of tumor cells are essential for tumor growth and cancer progression. Although ample evidence exists for a positive correlation between hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and tumor formation, metastasis and bad prognosis, the function of the HIF-α protein stability regulating prolyl-4-hydroxylase domain enzyme PHD2 in carcinogenesis is less well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that downregulation of PHD2 leads to increased tumor growth in a hormone-dependent mammary carcinoma mouse model. Tissue microarray analysis of PHD2 protein expression in 281 clinical samples of human breast cancer showed significantly shorter survival times of patients with low-level PHD2 tumors over a period of 10 years. An angiogenesis-related antibody array identified, amongst others, amphiregulin to be increased in the absence of PHD2 and normalized after PHD2 reconstitution. Cultivation of endothelial cells in conditioned media derived from PHD2-downregulated cells resulted in enhanced tube formation that was blocked by the addition of neutralizing anti-amphiregulin antibodies. Functionally, amphiregulin was regulated on the transcriptional level specifically by HIF-2 but not HIF-1. Our data suggest that PHD2/HIF-2/amphiregulin signaling has a critical role in the regulation of breast tumor progression and propose PHD2 as a potential tumor suppressor in breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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