Intermittent hypoxia is a key regulator of cancer cell and endothelial cell interplay in tumours

FEBS J. 2008 Jun;275(12):2991-3002. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06454.x. Epub 2008 Apr 25.


Solid tumours are complex structures in which the interdependent relationship between tumour and endothelial cells modulates tumour development and metastasis dissemination. The tumour microenvironment plays an important role in this cell interplay, and changes in its features have a major impact on tumour growth as well as on anticancer therapy responsiveness. Different studies have shown irregular blood flow in tumours, which is responsible for hypoxia and reoxygenation phases, also called intermittent hypoxia. Intermittent hypoxia induces transient changes, the impact of which has been underestimated for a long time. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that intermittent hypoxia could positively modulate tumour development, inducing tumour growth, angiogenic processes, chemoresistance, and radioresistance. In this article, we review the effects of intermittent hypoxia on tumour and endothelial cells as well as its impacts on tumour development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Survival
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit