Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels Kv1.3--Potentially New Molecular Target in Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy

Adv Clin Exp Med. 2015 May-Jun;24(3):517-24. doi: 10.17219/acem/22339.


Voltage-gated potassium channels, Kv1.3, which were discovered in 1984, are integral membrane proteins which are activated ("open") upon change of the cell membrane potential, enabling a passive flux of potassium ions across the cell membrane. The channels are expressed in many different tissues, both normal and cancer. Since 2005 it has been known that the channels are expressed not only in the plasma membrane, but also in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The activity of Kv1.3 channels plays an important role, among others, in setting the cell resting membrane potential, cell proliferation, apoptosis and volume regulation. For some years, these channels have been considered a potentially new molecular target in both the diagnostics and therapy of some cancer diseases. This review article focuses on: 1) changes of expression of the channels in cancer disorders with special regard to correlations between the channels' expression and stage of the disease, 2) influence of inhibitors of Kv1.3 channels on proliferation and apoptosis of cancer cells, 3) possible future applications of Kv1.3 channels' inhibitors in therapy of some cancer diseases. In the last section, the results of studies performed in our Laboratory of Bioelectricity on the influence of selected biologically active plant-derived compounds from the groups of flavonoids and stilbenes and their natural and synthetic derivatives on the activity of Kv1.3 channels in normal and cancer cells are reviewed. A possible application of some compounds from these groups to support therapy of cancer diseases, such as breast, colon and lymph node cancer, and melanoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), is announced.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Humans
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel / genetics
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel / metabolism
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel
  • Potassium Channel Blockers