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Glucose transporter-1 expression in renal cell carcinoma and its correlation with hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Urology and Andrology. Urologi och andrologi.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology. Patologi.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Clinical chemistry. Klinisk kemi.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.
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2008 (English)In: BJU International, ISSN 1464-4096, E-ISSN 1464-410X, Vol. 101, no 4, 480-484 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


To evaluate transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) activity, by analysing a target gene for HIF-1 alpha, glucose transporter-1 (GLUT-1), using a tissue microarray (TMA) in different types of renal cell carcinoma (RCC, a tumour with a variable clinical course, partly due to angiogenic activity), as angiogenesis is important for tumour progression and metastatic spread, and is activated by hypoxia.


GLUT-1 and HIF-1 alpha expressions were semiquantitatively analysed using immunohistological staining of a prepared TMA, using samples from 187 patients, including 148 with conventional, 26 with papillary and 13 with chromophobe RCC.


GLUT-1 staining was found mainly in the cytoplasm. The tumours were subdivided into GLUT -1(LOW) and GLUT-1(HIGH), based on staining intensity. There was a significant difference in GLUT-1 expression between RCC types (P < 0.05). In conventional RCC, GLUT-1 had no correlation with clinicopathological variables. By contrast there was a correlation with tumour stage in papillary RCC. There was an insignificant trend to better survival of patients with GLUT-1(LOW) expression in both conventional and papillary RCC. GLUT-1 correlated significantly (P = 0.008) with HIF-1 alpha.


Most patients with conventional RCC had GLUT-1(HIGH) staining and there was a significant correlation with HIF-1 alpha. In papillary RCC, GLUT-1 expression was associated with stage; GLUT-1 expression was significantly higher in conventional RCC than in papillary and chromophobe RCC. GLUT-1(LOW) in both papillary and conventional RCC appeared to correspond with a better prognosis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 101, no 4, 480-484 p.
Keyword [en]
glucose transporter-1, hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha, RCC, prognosis, tissue microarray
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-8815DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2007.07238.xPubMedID: 17922867OAI: diva2:148486
Available from: 2008-02-14 Created: 2008-02-14 Last updated: 2011-08-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Hypoxia inducible factor-1α in renal cell carcinoma
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hypoxia inducible factor-1α in renal cell carcinoma
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α in Renal Cell Carcinoma

Departments of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Urology and Andrology; Radiation Sciences, Oncology; Medical Biosciences, Pathology; and Medical Biosciences, Clinical Chemistry, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Background: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for approximately 2-3% of all human cancers. A distinguished feature of RCC is vascularisation and among the three dominating RCC types conventional RCC (cRCC) generally is more vascularised than papillary RCC (pRCC) and chromophobe RCC (chRCC). Angiogenesis is a critical step in tumour progression controlled by a balance involving molecules that have positive and negative regulatory activity. A balance distorted by metabolic stress such as hypoxia, acidosis, and inflammation. Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1α (HIF-1α) is a key transcription factor in angiogenesis and tumour progression, targeting more than a 100 genes involved in vascular growth and regulation, iron metabolism and erythropoesis, collagen matrix formation, regulation of extracellular pH, glucose uptake and metabolism, proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and cell viability.

Methods: Tumour tissue and corresponding kidney cortex from nephrectomised RCC patients was used in order to characterize HIF-1α expression and one of its target genes, Glucose Transporter 1 (GLUT-1). All tumour samples were thoroughly described regarding tumour type, TNM stage, nuclear grade, tumour size, vein invasion, and patient survival. Utilizing RT-PCR, Westen Blot and Tissue micro array (TMA) we studied HIF-1α mRNA and protein expression as well as GLUT-1 protein expression, correlating them to each other and clinicopathological parameters.

Results: Using Western Blot, HIF-1α protein expression differed significantly between the different RCC types and kidney cortex. In cRCC, high expression of HIF-1α was an independent prognostic factor for favourable prognosis.

TMA is a useful method to analyze HIF-1α protein expression in RCC. HIF-1α levels were significantly lower in locally aggressive cRCC and patients with high levels of HIF-1 tended to have a better prognosis.

GLUT-1 levels were higher in cRCC than in other RCC types and for cRCC a correlation to HIF-1α was seen.

HIF-1α mRNA levels were significantly lower in cRCC compared to other RCC types and kidney cortex. An inverse correlation between HIF-1α protein expression and mRNA levels was observed.

Summary: These results demonstrate a discrepancy between RCC types, highlighting the need to separately evaluate biological events in different RCC types. Overexpression of HIF-1α protein is not necessarily all bad and translational regulation appears more critical than anticipated. Further studies are encouraged to clarify angiogenic pathways in RCC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kirurgisk och perioperativ vetenskap, 2007. 60 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1141
renal cell carcinoma, hypoxia, RT-PCR, angiogenesis, western blot, tissue microarray, protein, mRNA, HIF-1 alpha, GLUT-1, survival
National Category
Urology and Nephrology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1462 (URN)978-91-7264-452-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-12-21, Betula, 6M, NUS, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-12-05 Created: 2007-12-05 Last updated: 2009-09-22Bibliographically approved

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