The role of TRP channels in the metastatic cascade

Benedikt Fels*, Etmar Bulk, Zoltán Pethő, Albrecht Schwab

*Corresponding author for this work
33 Citations (Scopus)


A dysregulated cellular Ca2+ homeostasis is involved in multiple pathologies including cancer. Changes in Ca2+ signaling caused by altered fluxes through ion channels and transporters (the transportome) are involved in all steps of themetastatic cascade. Cancer cells thereby “re-program” and “misuse” the cellular transportome to regulate proliferation, apoptosis, metabolism, growth factor signaling, migration and invasion. Cancer cells use their transportome to cope with diverse environmental challenges during themetastatic cascade, like hypoxic, acidic andmechanical cues. Hence, ion channels and transporters are keymodulators of cancer progression. This review focuses on the role of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the metastatic cascade. After briefly introducing the role of the transportome in cancer, we discuss TRP channel functions in cancer cellmigration. We highlight the role of TRP channels in sensing and transmitting cues from the tumor microenvironment and discuss their role in cancer cell invasion. We identify open questions concerning the role of TRP channels in circulating tumor cells and in the processes of intra- and extravasation of tumor cells. We emphasize the importance of TRP channels in different steps of cancer metastasis and propose cancer-specific TRP channel blockade as a therapeutic option in cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 06.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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