Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 453–471 | Cite as

Reciprocal regulations between miRNAs and HIF-1α in human cancers

  • Wanli Yang
  • Jiaojiao Ma
  • Wei Zhou
  • Bo Cao
  • Xin Zhou
  • Hongwei Zhang
  • Qingchuan Zhao
  • Liu HongEmail author
  • Daiming Fan


Hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) is a central molecule involved in mediating cellular processes. Alterations of HIF-1α and hypoxically regulated microRNAs (miRNAs) are correlated with patients’ outcome in various cancers, indicating their crucial roles on cancer development. Recently, an increasing number of studies have revealed the intricate regulations between miRNAs and HIF-1α in modulating a wide variety of processes, including proliferation, metastasis, apoptosis, and drug resistance, etc. miRNAs are a class of small noncoding RNAs which function as negative regulators by directly targeting mRNAs. Evidence shows that miRNAs can be regulated by HIF-1α at transcriptional level. In turn, HIF-1α itself can be modulated by many miRNAs whose alterations have been implicated in tumorigenesis, thus forming a reciprocal regulation network. These findings add a new layer of complexity to our understanding of HIF-1α regulatory networks. Here, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the current advances about the bidirectional interactions between HIF-1α and miRNAs in human cancers. Besides, the review will summarize the roles of miRNAs/HIF-1α crosstalk according to various cellular processes. Finally, the potential values of miRNAs/HIF-1α loops in clinical applications are discussed.


miRNAs HIF-1α Cancer Proliferation Apoptosis Metastasis 



This study was supported in part by Grant from the National Natural Scientific Foundation of China (81171923), Grant from the State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology (CBSKL2014Z13) and Grant from the National Clinical Research Center for Digestive Diseases(2015BAI13B07). It was not supported by any private or public company or organization.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

18_2018_2941_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wanli Yang
    • 1
  • Jiaojiao Ma
    • 1
  • Wei Zhou
    • 1
  • Bo Cao
    • 2
  • Xin Zhou
    • 2
  • Hongwei Zhang
    • 1
  • Qingchuan Zhao
    • 1
  • Liu Hong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daiming Fan
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology, National Clinical Research Center for Digestive Diseases, Xijing Hospital of Digestive DiseasesAir Force Military Medical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Air Force Military Medical UniversityXi’anChina

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