Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : A large number of drugs are known to bind with high affinity to sigma receptors (sigma-Rs) and have been used in the clinic to treat mental disorders for many years. However, recent publications highlighting sigma-R overexpression in many cancer tissues suggest potential applications for sigma-R ligands in cancer diagnosis and therapy. The present review focuses on the involvement of sigma-Rs in cancer biology and the potential therapeutic contributions of their pharmacologic ligands in oncology. After summarizing the current and general knowledge regarding sigma-Rs, we detail data reported in the particular context of oncology. We then investigate the potential and specific signal transduction pathways and mechanisms involved in the actions of sigma-R ligands in cancer biology. These processes include modulations of (1) the plasma membrane and lipid raft components, (2) intracellular calcium levels, (3) cytoskeletal protein functions, and (4) endoplasmic reticulum stress. Finally, we conclude by speculating on the roles of sigma-R overexpression and sigma-R ligands in cancer biology and offer perspectives on cancer therapy. (c) 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Med Res Rev.