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Oncol Lett. 2018 May;15(5):7249-7254. doi: 10.3892/ol.2018.8187. Epub 2018 Mar 7.

Calcium-activated potassium channels as potential early markers of human cervical cancer.

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Department of Pharmacology, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico City 07360, Mexico.
Departamento de Patología, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición 'Salvador Zubirán', Mexico City 14000, Mexico.
McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico City 07360, Mexico.


Cervical cancer is a major cause of cancer-associated mortality in women in developing countries. Thus, novel early markers are required. Ion channels have gained great interest as tumor markers, including cervical cancer. The calcium-activated potassium channel KCNMA1 (subunit α-1 from subfamily M) has been associated with different malignancies, including tumors such as breast and ovarian cancer that are influenced by hormones. The KCNMA1 channel blocker iberiotoxin decreases the proliferation of HeLa cervical cancer cells. Nevertheless, KCNMA1 channel expression during cervical carcinogenesis remains elusive. Therefore, KCNMA1 expression was studied in cervical cancer development. FVB transgenic mice expressing the E7-oncogene of high-risk human papilloma virus, and non-transgenic mice were treated with estradiol-releasing pellets during 3 or 6 months to induce cervical lesions. Twenty-four human cervical biopsies from non-cancerous, low- or high-grade intraepithelial lesions, or cervical cancer were also studied. mRNA and protein expression was assessed by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Cervical dysplasia and carcinoma were observed only in the transgenic mice treated with estradiol for 3 and 6 months, respectively. Estradiol treatment increased KCNMA1 mRNA and protein expression in all groups; however, the highest levels were observed in the transgenic mice with carcinoma. KCNMA1 protein expression in the squamous cells of the transformation zone was observed only in the transgenic mice with cervical dysplasia or cancer. Human biopsies from non-cancerous cervix did not display KCNMA1 protein expression; in contrast, the majority of the tissues with cervical lesions (16/18) displayed KCNMA1 protein expression. The lowest channel immunostaining intensity was observed in biopsies from low-grade dysplasia and the strongest in the carcinoma tissues. These results suggest KCNMA1 channels as potential early cervical cancer markers.


calcium-activated potassium channels; cervical cancer; estrogens; ether à-go-go-1 channels; human papilloma virus

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