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Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Apr;69:357-66. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Feb 7.

Extracellular superoxide dismutase suppresses hypoxia-inducible factor-1α in pancreatic cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
2
Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
3
Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
4
Department of Surgery, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. Electronic address: joseph-cullen@uiowa.edu.

Abstract

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a heterodimeric transcription factor that governs cellular responses to reduced oxygen availability by mediating crucial homeostatic processes and is a major survival determinant for tumor cells growing in a low-oxygen environment. Clinically, HIF-1α seems to be important in pancreatic cancer, as HIF-1α correlates with metastatic status of the tumor. Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) inhibits pancreatic cancer cell growth by scavenging nonmitochondrial superoxide. We hypothesized that EcSOD overexpression leads to changes in the O2(-)/H2O2 balance modulating the redox status affecting signal transduction pathways. Both transient and stable overexpression of EcSOD suppressed the hypoxic accumulation of HIF-1α in human pancreatic cancer cells. This suppression of HIF-1α had a strong inverse correlation with levels of EcSOD protein. Coexpression of the hydrogen peroxide-removing protein glutathione peroxidase did not prevent the EcSOD-induced suppression of HIF-1α, suggesting that the degradation of HIF-1α observed with high EcSOD overexpression is possibly due to a low steady-state level of superoxide. Hypoxic induction of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was also suppressed with increased EcSOD. Intratumoral injections of an adenoviral vector containing the EcSOD gene into preestablished pancreatic tumors suppressed both VEGF levels and tumor growth. These results demonstrate that the transcription factor HIF-1α and its important gene target VEGF can be modulated by the antioxidant enzyme EcSOD.

KEYWORDS:

Extracellular superoxide dismutase; Free radicals; Hypoxia-inducible factor; Pancreatic cancer; Superoxide

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