The transcription factor HIF-1α is essential for cells to rapidly adapt to low oxygen levels (hypoxia). HIF-1α is frequently deregulated in cancer and correlates with poor patient prognosis. Here, we demonstrate that the deubiquitinase Cezanne regulates HIF-1α homeostasis. Loss of Cezanne decreases HIF-1α target gene expression due to a reduction in HIF-1α protein levels. Surprisingly, although the Cezanne-regulated degradation of HIF-1α depends on the tumour suppressor pVHL, hydroxylase and proteasome activity are dispensable. Our data suggest that Cezanne is essential for HIF-1α protein stability and that loss of Cezanne stimulates HIF-1α degradation via proteasome-independent routes, possibly through chaperone-mediated autophagy.