Calcium signaling and T-type calcium channels in cancer cell cycling

James T. Taylor, Xiang Bin Zeng, Jonathan E. Pottle, Kevin Lee, Alun R. Wang, Stephenie G. Yi, Jennifer A.S. Scruggs, Suresh S. Sikka, Ming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Regulation of intracellular calcium is an important signaling mechanism for cell proliferation in both normal and cancerous cells. In normal epithelial cells, free calcium concentration is essential for cells to enter and accomplish the S phase and the M phase of the cell cycle. In contrast, cancerous cells can pass these phases of the cell cycle with much lower cytoplasmic free calcium concentrations, indicating an alternative mechanism has developed for fulfilling the intracellular calcium requirement for an increased rate of DNA synthesis and mitosis of fast replicating cancerous cells. The detailed mechanism underlying the altered calcium loading pathway remains unclear; however, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the T-type Ca2+ channel is abnormally expressed in cancerous cells and that blockade of these channels may reduce cell proliferation in addition to inducing apoptosis. Recent studies also show that the expression of T-type Ca2+ channels in breast cancer cells is proliferation state dependent, i.e. the channels are expressed at higher levels during the fast-replication period, and once the cells are in a non-proliferation state, expression of this channel is minimal. Therefore, selectively blocking calcium entry into cancerous cells may be a valuable approach for preventing tumor growth. Since T-type Ca2+ channels are not expressed in epithelial cells, selective T-type Ca2+ channel blockers may be useful in the treatment of certain types of cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4984-4991
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 28 2008


  • Calcium
  • Cancer
  • Cell cycle
  • T-type calcium channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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