Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) play a key role in the cellular response experienced in hypoxic tumours, mediating adaptive responses that allow hypoxic cells to survive in the hostile environment. Identification and understanding of tumour hypoxia and the influence on cellular processes carries important prognostic information and may help identify potential hypoxia circumventing and targeting strategies. This review summarizes current knowledge on HIF regulation and function in tumour cells and discusses the aspects of using companion animals as comparative spontaneous cancer models. Spontaneous tumours in companion animals hold a great research potential for the evaluation and understanding of tumour hypoxia and in the development of hypoxia-targeting therapeutics.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.