Tumor Hypoxia As an Enhancer of Inflammation-Mediated Metastasis: Emerging Therapeutic Strategies

Josh W. DiGiacomo, Daniele M. Gilkes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Recent research has implicated tumor inflammation as a promoter of metastasis. Myeloid, lymphoid, and mesenchymal cells in the tumor microenvironment promote inflammatory signaling amongst each other and together with cancer cells to modulate sustained inflammation, which may enhance cancer invasiveness. Tumor hypoxia, a state of reduced available oxygen present in the majority of solid tumors, acts as a prognostic factor for a worse outcome and is known to have a role in tumor inflammation through the regulation of inflammatory mediator signals in both cancer and neighboring cells in the microenvironment. Multiple methods to target tumor hypoxia have been developed and tested in clinical trials, and still more are emerging as the impacts of hypoxia become better understood. These strategies include mechanistic inhibition of the hypoxia inducible factor signaling pathway and hypoxia activated pro-drugs, leading to both anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects. This prompts a need for further research on the prevention of hypoxia-mediated inflammation in cancer. Hypoxia-targeting strategies seem to have the most potential for therapeutic benefit when combined with traditional chemotherapy agents. This paper will serve to summarize the role of the inflammatory response in metastasis, to discuss how hypoxia can enable or enhance inflammatory signaling, and to review established and emerging strategies to target the hypoxia-inflammation-metastasis axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalTargeted Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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