Involvement of human choline kinase alpha and beta in carcinogenesis: a different role in lipid metabolism and biological functions

Adv Enzyme Regul. 2011;51(1):183-94. doi: 10.1016/j.advenzreg.2010.09.010. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


We have summarized here the importance of ChoKα1 in human carcinogenesis. ChoKα1 displays its oncogenic activity through activation of specific signaling pathways that influence on cell proliferation and survival. It is overexpressed in a large number of human tumors with an incidence of 40-60% of all tumors investigated. Currently, there is an active effort in the development of strategies to knockdown the activity of ChoKα through specific siRNA or small molecules inhibitors. Results from genetic silencing or from treatment with MN58b, a well characterized ChoKα inhibitor showing antiproliferative and antitumoral effect in mice xenografts, provide strong support to this concept, indicating that the design of new antitumoral drugs must be selective against this isoform. However, affecting the other two known isoforms of ChoK may have also therapeutic consequences since the physiologically active form of ChoK may be constituted by homo or heterodimers. Furthermore, alteration of the ChoKβ activity might lead to a change in the lipid content of the cells of particular tissues such as skeletal muscle as described in the ChoKβ null mice (Sher et al., 2006). Finally, the identification of the ChoKα1 isoform as an excellent novel tool for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients may have clinical consequences of immediate usefulness. On one hand, the use of specific monoclonal antibodies against ChoKα1 as a tool for diagnosis in paraffin embedded samples from patient biopsies, through standard immunohistochemistry techniques, can now be achieved (Gallego-Ortega et al., 2006). On the other hand, it has been recently described the prognostic value of determination of ChoKα1 expression levels in non-small cell lung cancer using real time quantitative PCR technology (Ramírez de Molina et al., 2007). Therefore, further research should be supported on the utility of ChoK isoforms as a promising area to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Choline Kinase / chemistry
  • Choline Kinase / genetics
  • Choline Kinase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / chemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Isoenzymes
  • CHKA protein, human
  • CHKB protein, human
  • Choline Kinase