The hypoxic microenvironment of the skin contributes to Akt-mediated melanocyte transformation

Barbara Bedogni, Scott M. Welford, David S. Cassarino, Brian J. Nickoloff, Amato J. Giaccia, Marianne Broome Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Constitutive activation of Akt characterizes a high percentage of human melanomas and represents a poor prognostic factor of the disease. We show that Akt transforms melanocytes only in a hypoxic environment, which is found in normal skin. The synergy between Akt and hypoxia is HIF1α mediated. Inhibition of HIF1α decreases Akt transformation capacity in hypoxia and tumor growth in vivo, while overexpression of HIF1α allows anchorage-independent growth in normoxia and development of more aggressive tumors. Finally, we show that mTOR activity is necessary to maintain the transformed phenotype by sustaining HIF1α activity. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that Akt hyperactivation and HIF1α induction by normally occurring hypoxia in the skin significantly contribute to melanoma development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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