EZH2, HIF-1, and their inhibitors: An overview on pediatric cancers

Marco Papale, Elisabetta Ferretti, Giuseppe Battaglia, Diana Bellavia, Antonello Mai, Marco Tafani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


During the past decades, several discoveries have established the role of epigenetic modifications and cellularmicroenvironment in tumor growth and progression. One of the main representatives concerning epigenetic modification is the polycomb group (PcG). It is composed of different highly conserved epigenetic effector proteins preserving, through several post-translational modifications of histones, the silenced state of the genes implicated in a wide range of central biological events such as development, stem cell formation, and tumor progression. Proteins of the PcG can be divided in polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs): PRC1 and PRC2. In particular, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), the catalytic core subunit of PRC2, acts as an epigenetic silencer ofmany tumor suppressor genes through the trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3, an essential binding site for DNA methyl transferases and histone deacetylases. A growing number of data suggests that overexpression of EZH2 associates with progression and poor outcome in a large number of cancer cases. Hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) is an important transcription factor involved in modulating cellular response to the microenvironment by promoting and regulating tumor development such as angiogenesis, inflammation, metabolic reprogramming, invasion, and metastatic fate. The HIF complex is represented by different subunits (α and β) acting together and promoting the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hexokinase II (HKII), receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), carbonic anhydrase (CA), etc., after binding to the hypoxia-response element (HRE) binding site on the DNA. In this review, we will try to connect these two players by detailing the following: (i) the activity and influence of these two important regulators of cancer progression in particular for what concerns pediatric tumors, (ii) the possible correlation between them, and (iii) the feasibility and efficiency to contrast them using several inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number328
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 19 2018


  • Cancers
  • Epigenetics
  • EZH2
  • HIF-1
  • Hypoxia
  • Oncology
  • Tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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