Hypoxia-specific targets in cancer therapy: role of splice variants
Department of Radiation Oncology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
BMC Medicine 2010, 8:45 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-45Published: 12 July 2010
Tumour hypoxia is a well known adverse prognostic factor in the treatment of solid tumours. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), a transcription factor subunit regulating a large number of hypoxia-responsive genes, is considered an attractive target for novel treatment approaches, due to a frequently reported association between HIF-1α overexpression and poor outcome in clinical series. This month in BMC Medicine, Dales et al. report on splice variants of HIF-1α in fresh frozen tissue samples of early human breast cancer, finding an association of mRNA levels of the variant HIF-1αTAG with adverse clinical factors (lymph node status, hormone receptor status) and poor metastasis-free survival. This preliminary study addresses the possibility that specific targeting of individual isoforms resulting from alternative splicing may play a role in HIF-1-directed treatment approaches.