A dysregulated cellular Ca2+
homeostasis is involved in multiple pathologies including cancer. Changes in Ca2+
signaling caused by altered fluxes through ion channels and transporters (the transportome) are involved in all steps of the metastatic cascade. Cancer cells thereby “re-program” and “misuse” the cellular transportome to regulate proliferation, apoptosis, metabolism, growth factor signaling, migration and invasion. Cancer cells use their transportome to cope with diverse environmental challenges during the metastatic cascade, like hypoxic, acidic and mechanical cues. Hence, ion channels and transporters are key modulators of cancer progression. This review focuses on the role of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the metastatic cascade. After briefly introducing the role of the transportome in cancer, we discuss TRP channel functions in cancer cell migration. We highlight the role of TRP channels in sensing and transmitting cues from the tumor microenvironment and discuss their role in cancer cell invasion. We identify open questions concerning the role of TRP channels in circulating tumor cells and in the processes of intra- and extravasation of tumor cells. We emphasize the importance of TRP channels in different steps of cancer metastasis and propose cancer-specific TRP channel blockade as a therapeutic option in cancer treatment.
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