Change is in the air: the hypoxic induction of phenotype switching in melanoma

J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Oct;133(10):2316-2317. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.208.


Melanoma cells can switch from a highly proliferative, less invasive state to a highly invasive, less proliferative state, a phenomenon termed phenotype switching. This results in a highly heterogenous tumor, where a slow-growing, aggressive population of cells may resist tumor therapy, and it predicts tumor recurrence. Here we discuss the observation made by Widmer et al. that hypoxia may drive phenotype switching.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / pathology*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology*


  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit