The impact of O2 availability on human cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Dec;8(12):967-75. doi: 10.1038/nrc2540. Epub 2008 Nov 6.


During the past century it has been established that regions within solid tumours experience mild to severe O(2) deprivation owing to aberrant vascular function. These hypoxic regions are associated with altered cellular metabolism, as well as increased resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. As discussed in this Timeline, over the past decade work from many laboratories has elucidated the mechanisms by which hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) modulate tumour cell metabolism, angiogenesis, growth and metastasis. The central role played by intra-tumoural hypoxia and HIF in these processes has made them attractive therapeutic targets in the treatment of multiple human malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Hypoxia / physiology*
  • Glycolysis*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Oxygen Consumption*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors