Metabolic implications of hypoxia and pseudohypoxia in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma

Katarina Kluckova, Daniel A. Tennant

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18 Citations (Scopus)
562 Downloads (Pure)


Hypoxia is a critical driver of cancer pathogenesis, directly inducing malignant phenotypes such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition, stem cell-like characteristics and metabolic transformation. However, hypoxia-associated phenotypes are often observed in cancer in the absence of hypoxia, a phenotype known as pseudohypoxia, which is very well documented in specific tumour types, including in paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma (PPGL). Approximately 40% of the PPGL tumours carry a germ line mutation in one of a number of susceptibility genes of which those that are found in succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) or in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) genes manifest a strong pseudohypoxic phenotype. Mutations in SDH are oncogenic, forming tumours in a select subset of tissues, but the cause for this remains elusive. Although elevated succinate levels lead to increase in hypoxia-like signalling, there are other phenotypes that are being increasingly recognised in SDH-mutated PPGL, such as DNA hypermethylation. Further, recently unveiled changes in metabolic re-wiring of SDH-deficient cells might help to decipher cancer related roles of SDH in the future. In this review, we will discuss the various implications that the malfunctioning SDH can have and its impact on cancer development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-378
JournalCell and tissue research
Issue number2
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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