Solute carriers (SLCs) in cancer
During tumor progression cells acquire an altered metabolism, either as a cause or as a consequence of an increased need of energy and nutrients. All four major classes of macromolecules are affected: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. As a result of the changed needs, solute carriers (SLCs) which are the major transporters of these molecules are differently expressed. This renders them important targets in the treatment of cancer. Blocking or activating SLCs is one possible therapeutic strategy. For example, some SLCs are upregulated in tumor cells due to the increased demand for energy and nutritional needs. Thus, blocking them and turning off the delivery of fuel or nutrients could be one way to interfere with tumor progression. Specific drug delivery to cancer cells via transporters is another approach. Some SLCs are also interesting as chemosensitizing targets because blocking or activating them may result in an altered response to chemotherapy. In this review we summarize the roles of SLCs in cancer therapy and specifically their potential as direct or indirect targets, as drug carriers or as chemosensitizing targets. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.