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Cancers 2019, 11(3), 307;

The Volume-Regulated Anion Channel in Glioblastoma

Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, University of Perugia, Perugia 06123, Italy
Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia 06132, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Solna 17165, Sweden
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channels in Cancer)
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Malignancy of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and aggressive form of human brain tumor, strongly depends on its enhanced cell invasion and death evasion which make surgery and accompanying therapies highly ineffective. Several ion channels that regulate membrane potential, cytosolic Ca2+ concentration and cell volume in GBM cells play significant roles in sustaining these processes. Among them, the volume-regulated anion channel (VRAC), which mediates the swelling-activated chloride current (IClswell) and is highly expressed in GBM cells, arguably plays a major role. VRAC is primarily involved in reestablishing the original cell volume that may be lost under several physiopathological conditions, but also in sustaining the shape and cell volume changes needed for cell migration and proliferation. While experimentally VRAC is activated by exposing cells to hypotonic solutions that cause the increase of cell volume, in vivo it is thought to be controlled by several different stimuli and modulators. In this review we focus on our recent work showing that two conditions normally occurring in pathological GBM tissues, namely high serum levels and severe hypoxia, were both able to activate VRAC, and their activation was found to promote cell migration and resistance to cell death, both features enhancing GBM malignancy. Also, the fact that the signal transduction pathway leading to VRAC activation appears to involve GBM specific intracellular components, such as diacylglicerol kinase and phosphatidic acid, reportedly not involved in the activation of VRAC in healthy tissues, is a relevant finding. Based on these observations and the impact of VRAC in the physiopathology of GBM, targeting this channel or its intracellular regulators may represent an effective strategy to contrast this lethal tumor. View Full-Text
Keywords: GBM; VRAC; IClswell; hypoxia; microenvironment GBM; VRAC; IClswell; hypoxia; microenvironment

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Caramia, M.; Sforna, L.; Franciolini, F.; Catacuzzeno, L. The Volume-Regulated Anion Channel in Glioblastoma. Cancers 2019, 11, 307.

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