Prognostic significance of HIF-1 alpha overexpression in human pancreatic cancer

Anticancer Res. Nov-Dec 2003;23(6C):4721-7.


Background: Hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) has been correlated with unfavorable prognosis in several cancers. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of HIF-1 alpha expression on clinicopathological factors and to clarify whether or not HIF-1 alpha is correlated with angiogenesis and mutation of p53 in pancreatic cancer.

Materials and methods: Using immunohistochemical methods, we examined the expression of HIF-1 alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), p53 and intratumoral microvessel density (IMD) in 55 cases of primary pancreatic cancer.

Results: Immunohistochemical studies showed that 40.0% cases were positive and the status of HIF-1 alpha was significantly correlated with metastatic status (p = 0.048), VEGF expression (p = 0.026) and IMD (p = 0.0061). HIF-1 alpha is significantly related to prognosis in pancreatic cancer.

Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that pancreatic cancer widely expresses HIF-1 alpha, which contributes to angiogenesis and progression. Therefore, assessment of HIF-1 alpha expression might be useful for predicting the prognosis of pancreatic cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A