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A Rationale for the Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors as Antineoplastic Agents

[ Vol. 18 , Issue. 10 ]


Angelo De Milito, Maria Lucia Marino and Stefano Fais   Pages 1395 - 1406 ( 12 )


It is becoming increasingly acknowledged that tumorigenesis is not simply characterized by the accumulation of rapidly proliferating, genetically mutated cells. Microenvironmental biophysical factors like hypoxia and acidity dramatically condition cancer cells and act as selective forces for malignant cells, adapting through metabolic reprogramming towards aerobic glycolysis. Avoiding intracellular accumulation of lactic acid and protons, otherwise detrimental to cell survival is crucial for malignant cells to maintain cellular pH homeostasis. As a consequence of the upregulated expression and/or function of several pH-regulating systems, cancer cells display an alkaline intracellular pH (pHi) and an acidic extracellular pH (pHe). Among the pH-regulating proteins, proton pumps play an important role in both drug-resistance and metastatic spread, thus representing a suitable therapeutic target. Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) have been reported as cytotoxic drugs active against several human tumor cells and preclinical data have prompted the investigation of PPI as anticancer agents in humans. This review will update the current knowledge on the antitumor activities of PPI and their potential applications.


Proton pump inhibitors, omeprazole, cancer therapy, tumor pH, V-ATPase, cell survival, aerobic glycolysis, cellular pH homeostasis, cytotoxic drugs, hypoxia


Cancer Center Karolinska,Dep. Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

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