Collagen prolyl 4-hydroxylase 1 is essential for HIF-1α stabilization and TNBC chemoresistance

Gaofeng Xiong, Rachel L. Stewart, Jie Chen, Tianyan Gao, Timothy L. Scott, Luis M. Samayoa, Kathleen O’Connor, Andrew N. Lane, Ren Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Collagen prolyl 4-hydroxylase (P4H) expression and collagen hydroxylation in cancer cells are necessary for breast cancer progression. Here, we show that P4H alpha 1 subunit (P4HA1) protein expression is induced in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and HER2 positive breast cancer. By modulating alpha ketoglutarate (α-KG) and succinate levels P4HA1 expression reduces proline hydroxylation on hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1α, enhancing its stability in cancer cells. Activation of the P4HA/HIF-1 axis enhances cancer cell stemness, accompanied by decreased oxidative phosphorylation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. Inhibition of P4HA1 sensitizes TNBC to the chemotherapeutic agent docetaxel and doxorubicin in xenografts and patient-derived models. We also show that increased P4HA1 expression correlates with short relapse-free survival in TNBC patients who received chemotherapy. These results suggest that P4HA1 promotes chemoresistance by modulating HIF-1-dependent cancer cell stemness. Targeting collagen P4H is a promising strategy to inhibit tumor progression and sensitize TNBC to chemotherapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4456
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the assistance of the following Markey Cancer Center Shared Resource Facilities, all of which are supported by the grant P30 CA177558: the Biospecimen and Tissue Procurement Shared Resource Facility for assistance in tissue fixation and section; the Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core Facility for performing FACS analysis; and the Redox Metabolism Shared Resource Facility for performing Seahorse experiments. Additionally, we thank the cancer center’s Research Communications Office for assistance with manuscript preparation. This study was supported by start-up funding from Markey Cancer Center and funding support from NCI (1R01CA207772, 1R01CA215095, and 1R21CA209045 to R.X.), Markey Cancer Center CCSG pilot funding (P30 CA177558), and United States Department of Defense (W81XWH-15-1-0052 to R.X.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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