Hypoxia compromises anti-cancer immune responses

Gabriele Multhoff, Peter Vaupel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Hypoxia, one of the hallmarks of cancer, is caused by an insufficient oxygen supply, mostly due to a chaotic, deficient tumor microcirculation. Apart from a hypoxia-mediated resistance to standard therapies, modulated gene and protein expression, genetic instability and malignant progression, hypoxia also plays a pivotal role in anti-cancer immune responses by (a) reducing survival, cytolytic and migratory activity of effector cells such as CD4+ cells, CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, natural killer-like T cells and natural killer cells, (b) reducing the production and release of effector cytokines, (c) supporting immunosuppressive cells such as regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and M2 macrophages, (d) increasing the production and release of immunosuppressive cytokines, and (e) inducing the expression of immune checkpoint inhibitors. In this minireview, immunosuppressive effects of hypoxia- and HIF-1a-driven traits in cancers are described.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Anti-cancer immunity
  • Hypoxia
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunosuppressive cells hypoxia
  • Immunosuppressive factors
  • Tumor hypoxia
  • Tumor microenvironment HIF-1 alpha hypoxia


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