Practical Strategies for Suppressing Hypoxia-Inducible Factor Activity in Cancer Therapy

Anti-angiogenic strategies for controlling cancer – measures which slow cancer growth and spread by blocking the growth of new blood vessels required for tumor expansion – were initially considered to have great promise, but in practice have usually had only a modest impact on survival statistics owing to adaptations by the cancer that help it to survive in a low oxygen environment and increase its ability to elicit blood vessel growth. In particular, increased activity of the protein hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is evoked by anti-angiogenic therapy, and helps the cancer to adapt in this way. This essay describes a range of feasible measures that might be employed to suppress HIF-1 activity in cancers, potentially making anti-angiogenic therapy more effective.

Published in Medical Hypotheses 2010;74(5):789-97.

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