Voltage-gated sodium channels and metastatic disease

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review



Publication details

JournalChannels (Austin)
DatePublished - Sep 2012
Issue number5
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)352-361
Original languageEnglish


Voltage-gated Na (+) channels (VGSCs) are macromolecular protein complexes containing a pore-forming α subunit and smaller non-pore-forming β subunits. VGSCs are expressed in metastatic cells from a number of cancers. In these cells, Na (+) current carried by α subunits enhances migration, invasion and metastasis in vivo. In contrast, the β subunits mediate cellular adhesion and process extension. The prevailing hypothesis is that VGSCs are upregulated in cancer, in general favoring an invasive/metastatic phenotype, although the mechanisms are still not fully clear. Expression of the Nav 1.5 α subunit associates with poor prognosis in clinical breast cancer specimens, suggesting that VGSCs may have utility as prognostic markers for cancer progression. Furthermore, repurposing existing VGSC-blocking therapeutic drugs may provide a new strategy to improve outcomes in patients suffering from metastatic disease, which is the major cause of cancer-related deaths, and for which there is currently no cure.

Bibliographical note

© 2012 Landes Bioscience. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Channels . Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.


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