About this Research Topic
Hypoxic regions have been identified within all solid tumors and their presence has been linked to malignant progression, metastasis, resistance to therapy, and poor clinical outcomes following treatment. Acute and chronic hypoxia are integral components of tumor microenvironment and conduce to metabolic adaptations of tumor cells leading to genetic instability, intratumor heterogeneity and malignant progression.
Assessment of tissue oxygen tension by diverse methodologies in experimental models and clinical studies has revealed that presence of hypoxic regions in tumors is an independent indicator of poor outcome when associated with clinical and pathological variables. These studies demonstrate the feasibility of identifying hypoxia-dependent biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis in cancer, particularly of more aggressive forms of disease.
The efficacy of many anti-cancer therapies is reduced under low oxygen conditions due to a number of factors: 1) the role of oxygen in drug mechanism of action (e.g., ROS generation), 2) hypoxia-induced effects on drug distribution; 3) hypoxia-induced decreases in cell proliferation, which reduce cell sensitivity to cytotoxic chemotherapeutics or 4) hypoxic environment supporting the survival of cancer stem-like cells. There is significant evidence supporting the role of hypoxia in chemotherapy resistance. This may be a reason for the limited clinical success of anti-angiogenic agents combined with chemotherapy. This body of work suggests the potential of developing strategies to modulate intervening tumor hypoxia as a means to improve the efficacy of cancer treatment.
We welcome original contributions, short communications, review articles, editorial comments and conference reports. We hope to generate a forum to foster discussion and increase understanding of the involvement of hypoxia in tumorigenesis, biomarker development, and therapeutics.
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