Involvement of potassium channels in the progression of cancer to a more malignant phenotype

Nuria Comes, Antonio Serrano-Albarrás, Jesusa Capera, Clara Serrano-Novillo, Enric Condom, Santiago Ramón Y Cajal, Joan Carles Ferreres, Antonio Felipe

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91 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Potassium channels are a diverse group of pore-forming transmembrane proteins that selectively facilitate potassium flow through an electrochemical gradient. They participate in the control of the membrane potential and cell excitability in addition to different cell functions such as cell volume regulation, proliferation, cell migration, angiogenesis as well as apoptosis. Because these physiological processes are essential for the correct cell function, K + channels have been associated with a growing number of diseases including cancer. In fact, different K + channel families such as the voltage-gated K + channels, the ether à-go-go K + channels, the two pore domain K + channels and the Ca2+-activated K + channels have been associated to tumor biology. Potassium channels have a role in neoplastic cell-cycle progression and their expression has been found abnormal in many types of tumors and cancer cells. In addition, the expression and activity of specific K + channels have shown a significant correlation with the tumor malignancy grade. The aim of this overview is to summarize published data on K + channels that exhibit oncogenic properties and have been linked to a more malignant cancer phenotype. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane channels and transporters in cancers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2477-2492
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2015


  • Cancer
  • Metastasis
  • Potassium channel
  • Tumorigenesis


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