Eva C. Schwarz, Bin Qu, Markus Hoth ⁎
Department of Biophysics, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany


Killing cancer cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and by natural killer (NK) cells is of vital importance.
Cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis depend on the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, and the expression
of numerous ion channels with the ability to control intracellular Ca2+ concentrations has been correlated
with cancer. A rise of intracellular Ca2+ concentrations is also required for efficient CTL and NK cell function
and thus for killing their targets, in this case cancer cells. Here, we review the data on Ca2+- dependent killing
of cancer cells by CTL and NK cells. In addition, we discuss emerging ideas and present a model how Ca2+
may be used by CTL and NK cells to optimize their cancer cell killing efficiency. This article is part of a Special
Issue entitled: 12th European Symposium on Calcium.


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