The β2-adrenergic receptor antagonist ICI-118,551 blocks the constitutively activated HIF signalling in hemangioblastomas from von Hippel-Lindau disease

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 11;9(1):10062. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46448-6.


One of the major consequences of the lack of a functional VHL protein in von Hippel-Lindau disease, a rare cancer, is the constitutive activation of the HIF pathway. This activation ends up in the generation of Central Nervous System (CNS) Hemangioblastomas among other tumours along the lifespan of the patient. Nowadays, only surgery has been proven efficient as therapy since the systemic attempts have failed. Propranolol, a non-specific β1-and β2-adrenergic receptor antagonist, was recently designated as the first therapeutic (orphan) drug for VHL disease. Nevertheless, its β1 affinity provokes the decrease in blood pressure, being not recommended for low or regular blood pressure VHL patients. In order to overcome the β1-drawback, the properties of a high specific β2-adrenergic receptor blocker named ICI-118,551 have been studied. ICI-118,551 was able to decrease Hemangioblastomas cell viability in a specific manner, by triggering apoptosis. Moreover, ICI-118,551 also impaired the nuclear internalization of HIF-1α in Hemangioblastomas and hypoxic primary endothelial cells, reducing significantly the activation of HIF-target genes and halting the tumour-related angiogenic processes. In this work, we demonstrate the therapeutical properties of ICI-118,551 in VHL-derived CNS-Hemangioblastoma primary cultures, becoming a promising drug for VHL disease and other HIF-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / complications
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Hemangioblastoma / complications
  • Hemangioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Propanolamines / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein / genetics
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease / complications
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease / metabolism*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Propanolamines
  • ICI 118551
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein
  • VHL protein, human