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Calcium, cancer and killing

By March 5, 2018Research Study

Calcium, cancer and killing: The role of calcium in killing cancer cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells

Eva C. Schwarz, Bin Qu, Markus Hoth:

Killing cancer cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and by natural killer (NK) cells is of vital importance. Cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis depend on the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, and the expression of numerous ion channels with the ability to control intracellular Ca2+ concentrations has been correlated with cancer. A rise of intracellular Ca2+ concentrations is also required for efficient CTL and NK cell function and thus for killing their targets, in this case cancer cells. Here, we review the data on Ca2+-dependent killing of cancer cells by CTL and NK cells. In addition, we discuss emerging ideas and present a model how Ca2+ may be used by CTL and NK cells to optimize their cancer cell killing efficiency. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 12th European Symposium on Calcium.

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