TRPM8: a potential target for cancer treatment

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016 Sep;142(9):1871-81. doi: 10.1007/s00432-015-2112-1. Epub 2016 Jan 23.


Transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channel superfamily plays critical roles in variety of processes, including temperature perception, pain transduction, vasorelaxation, male fertility, and tumorigenesis. One of seven families within the TRP superfamily of ion channels, the melastatin, or TRPM family comprises a group of eight structurally and functionally diverse channels. Of all the members of TRPM subfamily, TRPM8 is the most notable one. A lot of literatures have demonstrated that transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) could perform a myriad of functions in vertebrates and invertebrates alike. In addition to its well-known function in cold sensation, TRPM8 has an emerging role in a variety of biological systems, including thermoregulation, cancer, bladder function, and asthma. Recent studies have shown that TRPM8 is necessary to the initiation and progression of tumors, and the aberrant expression of TRPM8 was found in varieties of tumors, such as prostate tumor, melanoma, breast adenocarcinoma, bladder cancer, and colorectal cancer, making it a novel molecular target potentially useful in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This review outlines our current understanding on the role of TRPM8 in occurrence and development of different kinds of tumor and also includes discussion about the regulation of TRPM8 during carcinogenesis as well as therapeutic potential of targeting TRPM8 in tumor, which may be utilized for a potential pharmacological use as a target for anti-cancer therapy.

Keywords: Anti-cancer therapy; Pain transduction; TRPM8; Thermoregulation; Tumor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy* / methods
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy* / trends
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • TRPM Cation Channels / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • TRPM Cation Channels / genetics
  • TRPM Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • TRPM Cation Channels
  • TRPM8 protein, human