Amino acid transporters are membrane transport proteins, most of which are members of the solute carrier families. Amino acids are essential for the survival of all types of cells, including tumor cells, which have an increased demand for nutrients to facilitate proliferation and cancer progression. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide and is still associated with high mortality rates, despite improved treatment strategies. Recent studies have demonstrated that the amino acid metabolic pathway is altered in breast cancer and that amino acid transporters affect tumor growth and progression. In breast cancer, glutamine is one of the key nutrients, and glutamine metabolism is closely related to the amino acid transporters. In this review, we focus on amino acid transporters and their roles in breast cancer. We also highlight the different subsets of upregulated amino acid transporters in breast cancer and discuss their potential applications as treatment targets, cancer imaging tracers, and drug delivery components. Glutamine metabolism as well as its regulation and therapeutic implication in breast cancer are also discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank Dong-Su Jang, MFA, (Medical Illustrator) for his help with the illustrations. This study was supported by a grant from the National R&D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (1420080). This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (2015R1A1A1A05001209).
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry