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Buech, Thomas R. H.; Büch, Eva A. M.; Boekhoff, Ingrid; Steinritz, Dirk; Aigner, Achim (2018): Role of Chemosensory TRP Channels in Lung Cancer. In: Pharmaceuticals, Vol. 11, No. 4


Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels represent a large family of cation channels and many members of the TRP family have been shown to act as polymodal receptor molecules for irritative or potentially harmful substances. These chemosensory TRP channels have been extensively characterized in primary sensory and neuronal cells. However, in recent years the functional expression of these proteins in non-neuronal cells, e.g., in the epithelial lining of the respiratory tract has been confirmed. Notably, these proteins have also been described in a number of cancer types. As sensor molecules for noxious compounds, chemosensory TRP channels are involved in cell defense mechanisms and influence cell survival following exposure to toxic substances via the modulation of apoptotic signaling. Of note, a number of cytostatic drugs or drug metabolites can activate these TRP channels, which could affect the therapeutic efficacy of these cytostatics. Moreover, toxic inhalational substances with potential involvement in lung carcinogenesis are well established TRP activators. In this review, we present a synopsis of data on the expression of chemosensory TRP channels in lung cancer cells and describe TRP agonists and TRP-dependent signaling pathways with potential relevance to tumor biology. Furthermore, we discuss a possible role of TRP channels in the non-genomic, tumor-promoting effects of inhalational carcinogens such as cigarette smoke.