The role of the TRPV6 channel in cancer

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The TRPV6 channel belongs to the superfamily of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, subfamily vanilloid, member 6. Its expression in health is mainly confined to epithelial tissue of different organs such as digestive tract, kidney, testis, ovaries and skin. Due to its high calcium selectivity over other TRP channels, this channel was shown to participate in close regulation of calcium homeostasis in the body. In cancer a number of pieces of evidence demonstrate its upregulation and correlation with the advanced stages in prostate, colon, breast, thyroid, and ovarian carcinomas. Little is known about its role in initiation or progression for most of cancers, though in prostate cancer its oncogenic potential in vitro has been suggested. The most probable mechanisms involve calcium signalling in the control of processes such as proliferation and apoptosis resistance, though in some cases first evidence was reported as to its likely protective role in some cancers such as colon cancer. Further studies are needed to confirm whether this channel does really have an oncogenic potential or is just the last hope for transformed cells/tissues to stop cancer.

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