The ABC subfamily A transporters: multifaceted players with incipient potentialities in cancer

Michela Pasello, Anna Maria Giudice, Katia Scotlandi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Overexpression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters is a cause of drug resistance in a plethora of tumors. More recent evidence indicates additional contribution of these transporters to other processes, such as tumor cell dissemination and metastasis, thereby extending their possible roles in tumor progression. While the role of some ABC transporters, such as ABCB1, ABCC1 and ABCG2, in multidrug resistance is well documented, the mechanisms by which ABC transporters affect the proliferation, differentiation, migration and invasion of cancer cells are still poorly defined and are frequently controversial. This review, summarizes recent advances that highlight the role of subfamily A members in cancer. Emerging evidence highlights the potential value of ABCA members as biomarkers of risk and response in different tumors, but information is disperse and very little is known about their possible mechanisms of action. The only clear evidence is that ABCA members are involved in lipid metabolism and homeostasis. In particular, the relationship between ABCA1 and cholesterol is becoming evident in different fields of biology, including cancer. In parallel, emerging findings indicate that cholesterol, the main component of cell membranes, can influence many physiological and pathological processes, including cell migration, cancer progression and metastasis. This review aims to link the dispersed knowledge regarding the relationship of ABCA members with lipid metabolism and cancer in an effort to stimulate and guide readers to areas that the writers consider to have significant impact and relevant potentialities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 9 2019


  • ABCA transporters
  • cancer biology
  • cholesterol homeostasis
  • drug resistance
  • metastasis


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