Hypoxia-induced vasculogenic mimicry formation in human colorectal cancer cells: Involvement of HIF-1a, Claudin-4, and E-cadherin and Vimentin.

Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) plays an important role in colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis, and both hypoxia and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are necessary for VM. In this study, HIF-1α expression was upregulated in the VM-positive CRC cell line HCT-116 and thereby affected the expression of the EMT-related markers Claudin-4, E-cadherin (E-cd) and Vimentin(VIM). SB431542 and U0126EtOH, which can inhibit of EMT were used to treat HCT-116 and HCT-8 in these experiments. Both of the inhibitors had significant effect on EMT markers and the formations of VM in CRC cells. In addition, knockdown of HIF-1α in the HCT-116 cells inhibited their capacity for VM. Our study reveals a regulatory role for HIF-1α in VM and suggests that targeting either HIF-1α or EMT may be a valuable strategy for the elimination of CRC metastasis

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