Intermediate conductance Ca2+ activated K+ channels are expressed and functional in breast adenocarcinomas: correlation with tumour grade and metastasis status.Histol Histopathol. 2010 10; 25(10):1247-55.HH
K+ channels are key molecules in the progression of several cancer types and are considered to be potential targets for cancer therapy. In this study, we investigated the intermediate- conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels (hKCa3.1) expression in both breast carcinoma (BC) specimens and human breast cancer epithelial primary cell cultures (hBCE) using immuno-histochemistry (60 samples), quantitative Real-Time RT-PCR (30 samples) and Western blot assay (30 samples). We also looked at whether or not the expression of these channels is correlated with breast carcinomas grade tumours and metastasis status. Furthermore, we characterized the hKCa3.1 channel activity in hBCE cells by using the Whole Cell Patch Clamp Technique. We found that hKCa3.1 transcripts and proteins were expressed in both BC samples and hBCE cells. Clinicopathologic evaluation indicated a significant correlation between hKCa3.1-expression and tumour grade. hKCa3.1 mRNA and protein were more highly expressed in grade III tumours than in both grades I and II. However, the hKCa3.1 expression-increase according to grade was only observed in tumours with negative metastasis status. Moreover, the hKCa3.1 channels expressed in hBCE cells are functional. This was attested by patch-clamp recordings showing typical hKCa3.1-mediated currents in these cells. In conclusion, these data suggest that hKCa3.1 might contribute to breast tumour-progression and can serve as a useful prognostic marker for breast cancer.