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

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 ⁎
Department of Biophysics, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany

 

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 the 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.

© 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1833 (2013) 1603–1611