HIF-1-dependent stromal adaptation to ischemia mediates in vivo tumor radiation resistance.

David L Schwartz, James Bankson, Luc Bidaut, Yi He, Ryan Williams, Robert Lemos, Arun Kumar Thitai, Junghwan Oh, Andrei Volgin, Suren Soghomonyan, Hsin-Hsien Yeh, Ryuichi Nishii, Uday Mukhopadhay, Mian Alauddin, Ioseb Mushkudiani, Norihito Kuno, Sunil Krishnan, William Bornman, Stephen Y Lai, Garth Powis, John Hazle, Juri Gelovani

Molecular cancer research : MCR2011

PURPOSE: Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) promotes cancer cell survival and tumor progression. The specific role played by HIF-1 and tumor-stromal interactions toward determining tumor resistance to radiation treatment remains undefined. We applied a multimodality preclinical imaging platform to mechanistically characterize tumor response to radiation, with a focus on HIF-1-dependent resistance pathways. METHODS: C6 glioma and HN5 human squamous carcinoma cells were stably transfected with a dual HIF-1 signaling reporter construct (dxHRE-tk/eGFP-cmvRed2XPRT). Reporter cells were serially interrogated in vitro before and after irradiation as monolayer and multicellular spheroid cultures and as subcutaneous xenografts in nu/nu mice. RESULTS: In vitro, single-dose irradiation of C6 and HN5 reporter cells modestly impacted HIF-1 signaling in normoxic monolayers and inhibited HIF-1 signaling in maturing spheroids. In contrast, irradiation of C6 or HN5 reporter xenografts with 8 Gy in vivo elicited marked upregulation of HIF-1 signaling and downstream proangiogenic signaling at 48 hours which preceded recovery of tumor growth. In situ ultrasound imaging and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI indicated that HIF-1 signaling followed acute disruption of stromal vascular function. High-resolution positron emission tomography and dual-contrast DCE-MRI of immobilized dorsal skin window tumors confirmed postradiotherapy HIF-1 signaling to spatiotemporally coincide with impaired stromal vascular function. Targeted disruption of HIF-1 signaling established this pathway to be a determinant of tumor radioresistance. CONCLUSIONS: Our results illustrate that tumor radioresistance is mediated by a capacity to compensate for stromal vascular disruption through HIF-1-dependent proangiogenic signaling and that clinically relevant vascular imaging techniques can spatially define mechanisms associated with tumor irradiation.

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