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Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2009 Dec;9(8):904-14.

Voltage-dependent potassium channels Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 in human cancer.

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  • 1Molecular Physiology laboratory, Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Biología, Universitat de Barcelona, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain.


Membrane ion channels participate in cancerous processes such as proliferation, migration and invasion, which contribute to metastasis. Increasing evidence indicates that voltage-dependent K(+) (Kv) channels are involved in the proliferation of many types of cells, including tumor cells. Kv channels have generated immense interest as a promising tool for developing new anti-tumor therapies. Therefore, the identification of potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in specific cancers is an important prerequisite for the treatment. Since Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 are involved in the proliferation of many mammalian cells, we aimed to study the expression of Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 in a plethora of human cancers. Thus, tissues from breast, stomach, kidney, bladder, lung, skin, colon, ovary, pancreas, brain, lymph node, skeletal muscle and some of their malignant counterparts have been analyzed. Whereas Kv1.3 expression was either decreased or did not change in most tumors, Kv1.5 was overexpressed. However, the presence of Kv1.3 was mostly associated with inflammatory lymphoplasmocytic cells. Independent of the suitability of individual channels as therapeutic targets, the identification of a Kv phenotype from tumor specimens could have a diagnostic value of its own. Our results demonstrate that Kv1.5, and to some extent Kv1.3, are aberrantly expressed in a number of human cancers. These channels could serve both as novel markers of the metastatic phenotype and as potential new therapeutic targets. The concept of Kv channels as therapeutic targets or prognostic biomarkers attracts increasing interest and warrants further investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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