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Review
, 1232, 169-176

Fatal Alliance of Hypoxia-/HIF-1α-Driven Microenvironmental Traits Promoting Cancer Progression

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Review

Fatal Alliance of Hypoxia-/HIF-1α-Driven Microenvironmental Traits Promoting Cancer Progression

Peter Vaupel et al. Adv Exp Med Biol.

Abstract

Inhospitable conditions within the tumor microenvironment (TME) are a characteristic feature ('hallmark') of most solid malignancies. Regional tumor hypoxia is a primary deficiency since it plays a key role in malignant progression. Severe hypoxia is often associated with other detrimental conditions in the TME as a consequence of hypoxia-/HIF-1α-induced (with/without oncogene-direction and/or reciprocal interaction of cancer cells with TME cells) metabolic re-programming, exorbitant extracellular adenosine (ADO) generation and VEGF overexpression/VEGF-R activation. Re-programming of the tumor metabolism inter alia includes a 'selfish' upregulation of aerobic glycolysis/glycolytic flux ('Warburg effect'), a strongly enhanced glutaminolysis in tumor cells, ketogenesis in cancer-associated fibroblasts, and an acceleration of the tryptophan uptake/intensified catabolism yielding kynurenine, which can support the malignant phenotype. Aerobic glycolysis and glutaminolysis result in lactate accumulation (up to 40 mM), and together with the enhanced ketogenesis and CO2/carbonic acid production lead to extracellular acidosis (pHe < 6.8). These traits of the TME individually or collectively operate towards cancer progression via e.g. promotion of genetic instability and mutation, resistance to apoptosis, clonal selection, limitless cell survival and sustained proliferation, continuous angiogenesis and tumor growth, local invasion and distant metastasis, anti-tumor immunosuppression and resistance to therapy.

Keywords: Adenosine; Aerobic glycolysis; Glutaminolysis; HIF-1α; Lactate; Metabolic re-programming; Tumor acidosis; Tumor hypoxia; Tumor progression; VEGF; Warburg effect.

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