Prognostic value of hypoxia inducible factor 1α in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma


Mr Y. K. S. Viswanath MS, FRCS (Gla) FRCS (I) FRCS (Gen. Surg.) Consultant Oesophagogastric Surgeon, Tertiary Upper GI unit, Department of General Surgery, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS8 9XN, UK. Email:


Hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF 1α) plays a major role in the pleitropic response observed secondary to hypoxic conditions in tumors. Its expression in the tumor cells has been correlated to tumor aggressiveness and prognosis in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the esophagus in Far Eastern population, but limited information is available on the prognostic role of HIF 1α in SCC of esophagus in European population. This information may help in choosing appropriate therapeutic strategies and possibly developing a monoclonal antibody with therapeutic potential targeting the HIF 1α. Tumor samples from 36 patients diagnosed with SCC of the esophagus were collected. Prepared tissue sections were stained with validated and specific monoclonal antibodies for HIF 1α and the expression was correlated with the disease pattern and survival. Out of 36 patients, 17 patients showed low and 19 high expression of HIF 1α. There was no difference in the disease-free and overall survival between these two groups (P > 0.05, log rank test). Regression analysis showed that HIF 1α was not an independent prognostic factor for survival (P > 0.05). HIF 1α did not show prognostic value in SCC of the esophagus in our study on European population, in agreement with previous studies. Novel strategies on the therapeutic manipulation of HIF 1α in cancer are to be explored further and may have a role to play in improving treatment outcome.