Progress in Cellular Physiological Researches on Esophageal Cancer

Atsushi Shiozaki, Daisuke Ichikawa, Hitoshi Fujiwara, Eigo Otsuji, Yoshinori Marunaka


Recently, the roles of ion and water transporters have been studied in cancer cells, and various types of transporters have been found in esophageal cancer. This article aims to systematically review the current knowledge on expression and functioning of cellular physiological factors in esophageal cancer. Various types of ion transporters, such as voltage-gated K+ channels, Cl- transporters, Ca2+ channels and transient receptor potential channels have been found to express in esophageal cancer cells and tissues, and to control cancer progression. With regard to water channels, aquaporin 3 and 5 play an important role in the progression of esophageal cancer. Regulators of intracellular pH, such as anion exchanger, sodium-hydrogen exchanger, vacuolar H+-ATPases and carbonic anhydrases also involved in cellular behaviours of esophageal cancer. Their pharmacological inhibition and gene silencing affected tumorgenesis, suggesting their potentiality as therapeutic targets for esophageal cancer. We demonstrated the cytocidal effects of hypotonic stress, and indicated that regulation of ion transport enhanced these effects in esophageal cancer cells. A deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms may lead to the discovery of these cellular physiological strategies as a novel therapeutic approach for esophageal cancer.

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