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.