Voltage-Gated Ion Channels in Cancer Cell Proliferation

Author(s): Vidhya R. Rao 1 , Mathew Perez-Neut 1, Simon Kaja 2 and Saverio Gentile 1,*

Changes of the electrical charges across the surface cell membrane are absolutely necessary to maintain cellular homeostasis in physiological as well as in pathological conditions. The opening of ion channels alter the charge distribution across the surface membrane as they allow the diffusion of ions such as K+, Ca++, Cl−, Na+. Traditionally, voltage-gated ion channels (VGIC) are known to play fundamental roles in controlling rapid bioelectrical signaling including action potential and/or contraction. However, several investigations have revealed that these classes of proteins can also contribute significantly to cell mitotic biochemical signaling, cell cycle progression, as well as cell volume regulation. All these functions are critically important for cancer cell proliferation. Interestingly, a variety of distinct VGICs are expressed in different cancer cell types, including metastasis but not in the tissues from which these tumors were generated. Given the increasing evidence suggesting that VGIC play a major role in cancer cell biology, in this review we discuss the role of distinct VGIC in cancer cell proliferation and possible therapeutic potential of VIGC
pharmacological manipulation.