Part of the book: Breast Cancer
Part of the book: A Concise Review of Molecular Pathology of Breast Cancer
There are various limitations regarding the current pharmacological options for the treatment of breast cancer in terms of efficacy, target selectivity, side effect profile and survival. Endocrine-based therapy for hormone-sensitive cancers such as that of the breast is one of the most effective and well-tolerated therapeutic options but is hampered by either intrinsic or acquired resistance, resulting in a more aggressive form of the disease. It is generally agreed that this process occurs in parallel with cellular transition from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype (EMT), with consequent enhancement of proliferative capacity, migrative ability and invasive potential. Aquaporins (AQPs) represent a large family of water channel proteins which are widely distributed in various tissues and which play a role in the physiological maintenance of the extracellular environment particularly to regulate electrolyte-water balance. Accumulating evidence shows that expression of several AQPs is modulated in cancer tissues, and this correlates with tumor grade. AQPs 1 and 3–5 are also involved in breast cancer invasion, through modulating the activity of various growth factors, signaling molecules and proteolytic enzymes. We review current data on the involvement of these proteins in processes associated with malignant progression and discuss possible applications of AQP-based therapy as an effective means of inhibiting cancer cells from metastasizing.
Part of the book: Tumor Metastasis