Amino acid transporters and glutamine metabolism in breast cancer

Yoon Jin Cha, Eun Sol Kim, Ja Seung Koo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Amino acid transporters are membrane transport proteins, most of which are members of the solute carrier families. Amino acids are essential for the survival of all types of cells, including tumor cells, which have an increased demand for nutrients to facilitate proliferation and cancer progression. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide and is still associated with high mortality rates, despite improved treatment strategies. Recent studies have demonstrated that the amino acid metabolic pathway is altered in breast cancer and that amino acid transporters affect tumor growth and progression. In breast cancer, glutamine is one of the key nutrients, and glutamine metabolism is closely related to the amino acid transporters. In this review, we focus on amino acid transporters and their roles in breast cancer. We also highlight the different subsets of upregulated amino acid transporters in breast cancer and discuss their potential applications as treatment targets, cancer imaging tracers, and drug delivery components. Glutamine metabolism as well as its regulation and therapeutic implication in breast cancer are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number907
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 19

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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