Background: Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and deadly brain tumor, with low
disease-free period even after surgery and combined radio and chemotherapies. Among the factors
contributing to the devastating effect of this tumor in the brain are the elevated proliferation and
invasion rate, and the ability to induce a local immunosuppressive environment. The intermediateconductance
Ca2+-activated K+ channel KCa3.1 is expressed in glioblastoma cells and in tumorinfiltrating
Methods: We first describe the researches related to the role of KCa3.1 channels in the invasion of
brain tumor cells and the regulation of cell cycle. In the second part we review the involvement of
KCa3.1 channel in tumor-associated microglia cell behaviour.
Results: In tumor cells, the functional expression of KCa3.1 channels is important to substain cell
invasion and proliferation. In tumor infiltrating cells, KCa3.1 channel activity is required to regulate
their activation state. Interfering with KCa3.1 activity can be an adjuvant therapeutic approach in
addition to classic chemotherapy and radiotherapy, to counteract tumor growth and prolong
Conclusion: In this mini-review we discuss the evidence of the functional roles of KCa3.1 channels
in glioblastoma biology.