Expression of K+ channels in normal and cancerous human breast

Histol Histopathol. 2008 Aug;23(8):965-72. doi: 10.14670/HH-23.965.


Potassium (K+) channels contribute to the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis and are also involved in tumor generation and malignant growth. Using immunohistochemical analysis, we investigated the expression of four K+ channels GIRK1 (G-Protein Inwardly Rectifying Potassium Channel 1), Ca2+-activated K channel (K Ca 1.1), voltage activated K+ channels (KV 1.1 and KV 1.3) and of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl2 in normal and cancerous breast tissues and compared their expression with clinicopathological data. GIRK1 was overexpressed in carcinomatous tissues. In contrast, K V 1.1 and K V 1.3 were less expressed in cancerous tissue. The expression of Bcl-2 was similar in both tissues. As to the clinicopathological data, a correlation between K Ca 1.1 channel and estrogen receptor (ER) expression was observed. GIRK1 was overexpressed in breast carcinoma suggesting its involvement in proliferation and oncogenesis and its possible use as a putative pharmaceutical target. The correlation between K Ca 1.1 channel and ER suggests the involvement of this channel in proliferation. The loss of expression of the two channels K V 1.1 and K V 1.3 may correspond to their role in apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / secondary
  • Cell Count
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Direct
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channels, Calcium-Activated / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Calcium-Activated
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2