Background: Ca2+ is known to be involved in a number of metastatic processes including motility and proliferation which can result in store-depletion of Ca2+. Up regulation of genes which contribute to store operated channel (SOC) activity may plausibly be necessary for these processes to take place efficiently. TRPC proteins constitute a family of conserved Ca2+-permeable channels that have been shown to contribute to SOC activity.
Results: In breast cancer biopsy tissues, TRPC3 and TRPC6 were the predominant TRPC genes expressed with TRPC3 and TRPC6 being significantly up regulated compared to normal breast tissue. In the lowly metastatic breast cancer cell line MCF-7, TRPC6 was the chief TRPC gene expressed while in the highly metastatic breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 both TRPC3 and TRPC6 were the predominant TRPC genes expressed. Western blotting, immunoconfocal analysis and immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed that the MDA-MB-231 cell line expressed both TRPC3 and TRPC6 protein with the majority of protein being intracellular. TRPC3 and TRPC6 were found to be in an immunoprecipitatble complex and co-localize within the cell. To demonstrate the potential of targeting TRP channels in breast cancer, hyperforin reportably a specific activator of TRPC6 significantly reduced the growth and viability of the breast cancer cell lines but had no effect on the non-cancerous breast cell line. Silencing of TRPC6 in MDA-MB-231 cells resulted in a significant reduction in cell growth but not viability.
Conclusion: TRPC channels may be potential future targets for breast cancer diagnosis and therapy and deserve further investigation to evaluate their role in cancer cell physiology.