Hyperinducibility of hypoxia-responsive genes without p53/p21-dependent checkpoint in aggressive prostate cancer

Konstantin Salnikow, Max Costa, William D. Figg, Mikhail V. Blagosklonny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Hypoxia limits tumor growth but selects for higher metastatic potential. We tested the functional activity of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) in prostate cell lines ranging from normal epithelial cells (PrEC), hormone-dependent LNCaP, hormone-independent DU145, PC-3 to highly metastatic PC-3M cancer cell lines. We found that HIF-1-stimulated transcription was the lowest in PrEC and LNCaP cells and the highest in PC-3M cells. The induction by hypoxia of the HIF-1 dependent genes Cap43 and GAPDH was the highest in the most aggressive PC-3M cancer cells. Because these advanced prostate cancer cell lines have lost p53 function, this further shifts a balance from p53 to HIF-1 transcriptional regulation, and a high ratio of HIF-1-dependent:p53-dependent transcription was a marker of the advanced malignant phenotype. Transient transfection of HIF-1α expression vector induced transcription from p21 promoter construct in prostate cancer cell lines. Furthermore, hypoxia slightly induced p21 mRNA in these cells. However, neither expression of p21 nor hypoxia caused growth arrest in PC-3M cells. Therefore, high inducibility of HIF-1-dependent genes, loss of p53 functions with high ratio of HIF-1-dependent:p53-dependent transcription, and loss of sensitivity to p21 inhibition is a part of hypoxic phenotype associated with aggressive cancer behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5630-5634
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes


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