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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

HIF-1α inhibition by siRNA or chetomin in human malignant glioma cells: effects on hypoxic radioresistance and monitoring via CA9 expression

Jacqueline Kessler*, Antje Hahnel, Henri Wichmann, Swetlana Rot, Matthias Kappler, Matthias Bache and Dirk Vordermark

Author Affiliations

Department of Radiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Ernst-Grube-Straße 40, 06097 Halle (Saale), Germany

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:605  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-605

Published: 4 November 2010



Hypoxia induces activation of the HIF-1 pathway and is an essential characteristic of malignant gliomas. Hypoxia has been linked to tumor progression, therapy resistance and poor prognosis. However, little is known about the impact of HIF-1α inhibition on radioresistance of malignant glioma.


In this study, we investigated the effects of the inhibition of HIF-1α on cell survival and radiosensitivity in U251MG and U343MG glioma cells, using two different strategies. HIF-1α inhibition was achieved by siRNA targeting of HIF-1α or via chetomin, a disruptor of interactions between HIF-1α and p300. The inhibition of the HIF-1 pathway was monitored by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analyses of the expression levels of HIF-1α and CA9. CA9 expression was investigated as a potential indicator of the efficacy of HIF-1 inhibition and the resulting radiosensitivity of malignant glioma cell lines was determined by clonogenic assay after irradiation under normoxic (2-10 Gy) or hypoxic (2-15 Gy) conditions.


Although siRNA and chetomin show distinct modes of action, both attenuated the hypoxia-induced radioresistance of malignant glioma cell lines U251MG (DMF10: 1.35 and 1.18) and U343MG (DMF10: 1.78 and 1.48). However, siRNA and chetomin showed diverse effects on radiosensitivity under normoxic conditions in U251MG (DMF10: 0.86 and 1.35) and U343MG (DMF10: 1.33 and 1.02) cells.


Results from this in vitro study suggest that inhibition of HIF-1α is a promising strategy to sensitize human malignant gliomas to radiotherapy and that CA9 could serve as an indicator of effective HIF-1-related radiosensitization.