Role of calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) in tumorigenesis

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jun;27(3):455-63. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2013.04.001. Epub 2013 May 6.


The extracellular Ca(2+)-sensing receptor (CaSR) is a robust promoter of differentiation in colonic epithelial cells and functions as a tumor suppressor in colon cancer. CaSR mediates its biologic effects through diverse mechanisms. Loss of CaSR expression activates a myriad of stem cell-like molecular features that drive and sustain the malignant and drug-resistant phenotypes of colon cancer. This CaSR-null phenotype, however, is not irreversible and induction of CaSR expression in CaSR-null cells promotes cell death mechanisms and restores drug sensitivity. The CaSR also functions as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer and promotes cellular sensitivity to cytotoxic drugs. BRCA1 and CaSR functions intersect in breast cancer cells, and CaSR activation can rescue breast cancer cells from the deleterious effect of BRCA1 mutations.

Keywords: CaSR; breast cancer; colon cancer; differentiation; drug resistance; tumor suppressor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Calcium