Ion Channels in Gliomas—From Molecular Basis to Treatment

Abdallah F. Elias, Bernice C. Lin, Beverly J. Piggott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Ion channels provide the basis for the nervous system’s intrinsic electrical activity. Neuronal excitability is a characteristic property of neurons and is critical for all functions of the nervous system. Glia cells fulfill essential supportive roles, but unlike neurons, they also retain the ability to divide. This can lead to uncontrolled growth and the formation of gliomas. Ion channels are involved in the unique biology of gliomas pertaining to peritumoral pathology and seizures, diffuse invasion, and treatment resistance. The emerging picture shows ion channels in the brain at the crossroads of neurophysiology and fundamental pathophysiological processes of specific cancer behaviors as reflected by uncontrolled proliferation, infiltration, resistance to apoptosis, metabolism, and angiogenesis. Ion channels are highly druggable, making them an enticing therapeutic target. Targeting ion channels in difficult-to-treat brain tumors such as gliomas requires an understanding of their extremely heterogenous tumor microenvironment and highly diverse molecular profiles, both representing major causes of recurrence and treatment resistance. In this review, we survey the current knowledge on ion channels with oncogenic behavior within the heterogeneous group of gliomas, review ion channel gene expression as genomic biomarkers for glioma prognosis and provide an update on therapeutic perspectives for repurposed and novel ion channel inhibitors and electrotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2530
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 28 2023


  • angiogenesis
  • blood–brain barrier
  • brain cancer
  • drug target
  • glioblastoma
  • glioma
  • ion channels
  • ion exchanger
  • ion transporter
  • treatment resistance
  • tumor microenvironment
  • tumor-associated epilepsy
  • Humans
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Neurons/metabolism
  • Ion Channels/metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Glioma/drug therapy
  • Seizures


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