Tissue hypoxia in solid tumors is caused by several pathological changes associated with tumor growth, including altered microvasculature structure, increased diffusional distances, and tumor-associated anemia. As the oxygen tension decreases, tumor cells adapt to the limited oxygen supply. Previous studies have shown that such adaptation leads to an aggressive phenotype that is resistant to many anti-cancer therapies. Induction of hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) mediates many proteomic and genomic changes associated with tumor hypoxia. In breast cancers, HIFs not only predict poor prognosis, but also promote metastasis and drug resistance. Several studies have proposed HIF-1α as a druggable target in drug-resistant breast cancers, leading to the synthesis and development of small molecule inhibitors. Disappointingly, however, none of these small molecule inhibitors have progressed to clinical use. In this review, we briefly discuss the role of HIF-1α in breast cancer drug resistance and summarize the current and future approaches to targeting this transcription factor in breast cancer treatment.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.