Tumor hypoxia was first described in the 1950s by radiation oncologists as a frequent cause of failure to radiotherapy in solid tumors. Today, it is evident that tumor hypoxia is a common feature of many cancers and the master regulator of hypoxia, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), regulates multiple aspects of tumorigenesis, including angiogenesis, proliferation, metabolism, metastasis, differentiation, and response to radiation therapy. Although the tumor hypoxia response mechanism leads to a multitude of downstream effects, it is angiogenesis that is most crucial and also most susceptible to molecular manipulation. The delineation of molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis has revealed a critical role for HIF-1 in the regulation of angiogenic growth factors. In this article, we review what has been described about HIF-1: its structure, its regulation, and its implication for cancer therapy and we focus on its role in angiogenesis and cancer. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 967–974, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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