As trans-membrane proteins located in cytoplasm and organelle membrane, potassium (K+) channels are generally divided into four super-families: voltage-gated K+ channels (Kv), Ca2+-activated K+ channels (KCa), inwardly rectifying K+ channels (Kir) and two-pore domain K+ channels (K2P). Since dysfunctions of K+ channels would induce many diseases, various studies toward their functions in physiologic and pathologic process have been extensively launched. This review focuses on the recent advances of K+ channels in tumor progression, including the brief introduction of K+ channels, the role of K+ channels in tumor cells, the possible mechanism of action at cellular level, and the possible application of K+ channel modulators in cancer chemotherapy.
Keywords: Cancer chemotherapy, Kv, KCa, Kir, K2P, K+ channel modulators, mechanisms of action
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