Hypoxia-inducible factor-2α promotes tumor progression and has crosstalk with Wnt/β-catenin signaling in pancreatic cancer


                  <p>Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease that is characterized by persistent hypoxia. The roles of hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (hif-2α) are different to those of hif-1α, although both are critical for tumor cells to adapt to the hypoxic microenvironment. However, unlike the well-studied hif-1α, the role of hif-2α in tumors, including pancreatic cancer, is poorly understood.</p> 

                  <p>Herein, we used a mutated hif-2α (A530T) to figure out the problem that wild-type hif-2α is quickly degraded which limits the study of its function. Using several cell lines, mouse models, and human tissues, we obtained a general picture of hif-2α in pancreatic cancer progression.</p> 

                  <p>Functional assays revealed that hif-2α promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, enhances tumor proliferation and invasion, increases stemness, facilitates angiogenesis, and up-regulates aerobic glycolysis. We identified an interaction between hif-2α and β-catenin, and found that hif-2α/β-catenin complex formation increased the activity of β-catenin and the protein stability of hif-2α. In vivo study confirmed the pro-oncogenic role of hif-2α, whose expression correlated with those of E-cadherin, vimentin, Ki-67, and CD31, but not hif-1α. A human tissue study showed that hif-2α was associated with lymph node metastasis, pathological grade, stroma abundance, vascularization and patient survival. High expression of hif-2α was also identified as an independent indicator of poor prognosis in patients with pancreatic cancer.</p> 

                  <p>Our systematic study revealed the roles of hif-2α in pancreatic cancer, and may provide a novel target for this highly malignant disease.</p> 
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