HIF-1α drives resistance to ferroptosis in solid tumors by promoting lactate production and activating SLC1A1

Cell Rep. 2023 Aug 29;42(8):112945. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112945. Epub 2023 Aug 4.


Solid tumors have developed robust ferroptosis resistance. The mechanism underlying ferroptosis resistance regulation in solid tumors, however, remains elusive. Here, we report that the hypoxic tumor microenvironment potently promotes ferroptosis resistance in solid tumors in a hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α)-dependent manner. In combination with HIF-2α, which promotes tumor ferroptosis under hypoxia, HIF-1α is the main driver of hypoxia-induced ferroptosis resistance. Mechanistically, HIF-1α-induced lactate contributes to ferroptosis resistance in a pH-dependent manner that is parallel to the classical SLC7A11 and FSP1 systems. In addition, HIF-1α also enhances transcription of SLC1A1, an important glutamate transporter, and promotes cystine uptake to promote ferroptosis resistance. In support of the role of hypoxia in ferroptosis resistance, silencing HIF-1α sensitizes mouse solid tumors to ferroptosis inducers. In conclusion, our results reveal a mechanism by which hypoxia drives ferroptosis resistance and identify the combination of hypoxia alleviation and ferroptosis induction as a promising therapeutic strategy for solid tumors.

Keywords: CP: Cancer; CP: Metabolism; SLC1A1; ferroptosis; hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor 1α; lactate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3* / genetics
  • Ferroptosis*
  • Hypoxia
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit* / genetics
  • Lactic Acid
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Lactic Acid
  • Slc1a1 protein, mouse
  • Hif1a protein, mouse
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3