Kinins are generated within inflammatory tissue microenvironments, where they exert diverse functions, including cell proliferation, leukocyte activation, cell migration, endothelial cell activation and nociception. These pleiotropic functions depend on signaling through two cross talking receptors, the constitutively expressed kinin receptor 2 (B2R) and the inducible kinin receptor 1 (B1R). We have reviewed evidence, which supports the concept that kinin receptors, especially kinin receptor 1, are promising targets for cancer therapy, since (1) many tumor cells express aberrantly high levels of these receptors; (2) some cancers produce kinins and use them as autocrine factors to stimulate their growth; (3) activation of kinin receptors leads to activation of macrophages, dendritic cells and other cells from the tumor microenvironment; (4) kinins have pro-angiogenic properties; (5) kinin receptors have been implicated in cancer migration, invasion and metastasis; and (6) selective antagonists for either B1R or B2R have shown anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and anti-migratory properties. The multiple cross talks between kinin receptors and renin-angiotensin system (RAS) as well as its implications for targeting KKS or RAS for the treatment of malignancies are also discussed. It is expected that B1R antagonists would interfere less with housekeeping functions and therefore would be attractive compounds to treat selected types of cancer. Reliable clinical studies are needed to establish the translatability of these data to human settings and the usefulness of kinin receptor antagonists.
Keywords: Angiogenesis; Bradykinin; Cancer; Kallikrein–kinin system; Kinin receptors; Renin–angiotensin system.
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.. All rights reserved.