Connexin and pannexin channels in cancer
BMC Cell Biology
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© 2016 Jiang and Penuela. Communication among cells via direct cell-cell contact by connexin gap junctions, or between cell and extracellular environment via pannexin channels or connexin hemichannels, is a key factor in cell function and tissue homeostasis. Upon malignant transformation in different cancer types, the dysregulation of these connexin and pannexin channels and their effect in cellular communication, can either enhance or suppress tumorigenesis and metastasis. In this review, we will highlight the latest reports on the role of the well characterized connexin family and its ability to form gap junctions and hemichannels in cancer. We will also introduce the more recently discovered family of pannexin channels and our current knowledge about their involvement in cancer progression.