Int Braz J Urol. 2020 Nov 4;47. doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2020.0054. Online ahead of print.
The standard treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer (CC) is chemo-radiotherapy. Once the bladder receives part of the radiation, a typical inflammatory condition that configures radiation-induced cystitis may develop. Chronic radiation-induced cystitis is commonly characterized by the bladder new submucosal vascularization, which is typically fragile and favors hematuria. The current study aims to investigate if Hypoxia-Induced Factor (HIF-1α) and its transcriptional target Vascular
Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGF-A) could be a primary pathway leading to increased submucosal vascularization. HIF-1α and VEGF-A mRNA levels in bladder core biopsies from CC patients treated with radiotherapy versus untreated (non-irradiated) patients were analyzed using a droplet digital polymerase chain reaction technology. Gene expression results showed that HIF-1α and VEGF-A had no significant differences between bladder samples from patients previously irradiated and untreated patient samples. However, a direct relationship between the degree of late morbidity and the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-A has been demonstrated. Despite the lack of statistical significance precludes a definitive conclusion, the data presented herein suggests that further studies investigating the role of HIF-1α in bladder neovascularization in radiation-induced cystitis are highly recommended.