Angiogenesis is a finely tuned process, which is the result of the equilibrium between pro- and anti-angiogenic factors. In solid tumor angiogenesis, the balance is highly in favor of the production of new, but poorly functional blood vessels, initially intended to provide growing tumors with nutrients and oxygen. Among the numerous proteins involved in tumor development, several types of ion channels are overexpressed in tumor cells, as well as in stromal and endothelial cells. Ion channels thus actively participate in the different hallmarks of cancer, especially in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Indeed, from their strategic localization in the plasma membrane, ion channels are key operators of cell signaling, as they sense and respond to environmental changes. This review aims to decipher how ion channels of different families are intricately involved in the fundamental angiogenesis and metastasis hallmarks, which lead from a nascent tumor to systemic dissemination. An overview of the possible use of ion channels as therapeutic targets will also be given, showing that ion channel inhibitors or specific antibodies may provide effective tools, in a near future, in the treatment of carcinomas.
- ion channel
- tumor vascularization
- cell signaling
- ion channel-targeted therapy
- Copyright © 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology