A hypoxia-dependent upregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 by nuclear factor-κB promotes gastric tumour growth and angiogenesis

S Y Nam, Y S Ko, J Jung, J Yoon, Y H Kim, Y J Choi, J W Park, M S Chang, W H Kim, B L Lee
British Journal of Cancer 2011 January 4, 104 (1): 166-74

BACKGROUND: The underlying mechanisms involved in the activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) in gastric cancer remain unclear. As nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) as well as HIF-1 have been implicated in angiogenesis of various cancers, we investigated their relationship in gastric cancer.

METHODS: Nuclear expressions of HIF-1α and NF-κB/RelA were assessed in 251 human gastric carcinoma specimens by immunohistochemical tissue array analysis. Stable human gastric cancer cells, infected with a retroviral vector containing super-suppressive mutant form of IκBα (IκBαM), were used for animal studies as well as cell culture experiments. Xenografted tumours were measured and IκBαM effects on angiogenesis and HIF-1α activation were assessed by immunohistochemistry, western blotting, luciferase reporter assay, and semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. In addition, NF-κB effects on the HIF-1α degradation and synthesis were examined.

RESULTS: Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α activation positively correlated with RelA activation in clinical gastric cancer samples (P<0.001). The IκBαM overexpression suppressed tumour growth, microvessel density, and HIF-1α activation in xenografted tumours. Cell culture experiments showed that hypoxia-induced HIF-1α expression was reduced by NF-κB inhibition under hypoxic conditions at the translational level.

CONCLUSION: The hypoxia-dependent activation of the NF-κB/HIF-1α/VEGF pathway contributes, at least in part, to gastric cancer promotion via enhancement of angiogenesis.

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