Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Oncol. Jan 15, 2017; 9(1): 21-29
Published online Jan 15, 2017. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v9.i1.21
Novel therapeutic approaches targeting L-type amino acid transporters for cancer treatment
Keitaro Hayashi, Naohiko Anzai
Keitaro Hayashi, Naohiko Anzai, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, Shimotsuga, Tochigi 321-0293, Japan
Naohiko Anzai, Department of Pharmacology, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Chuo, Chiba 260-8670, Japan
Author contributions: Hayashi K wrote the manuscript; Anzai N reviewed the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: There is no conflict of interest associated with any of the senior author or other coauthors contributed their efforts in this manuscript.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Keitaro Hayashi, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, 880 Kitakobayashi, Mibu, Shimotsuga, Tochigi 321-0293, Japan.
Telephone: +81-282-872128 Fax: +81-282-862915
Received: August 15, 2016
Peer-review started: August 16, 2016
First decision: September 28, 2016
Revised: October 8, 2016
Accepted: November 1, 2016
Article in press: November 2, 2016
Published online: January 15, 2017

L-type amino acid transporters (LATs) mainly assist the uptake of neutral amino acids into cells. Four LATs (LAT1, LAT2, LAT3 and LAT4) have so far been identified. LAT1 (SLC7A5) has been attracting much attention in the field of cancer research since it is commonly up-regulated in various cancers. Basic research has made it increasingly clear that LAT1 plays a predominant role in malignancy. The functional significance of LAT1 in cancer and the potential therapeutic application of the features of LAT1 to cancer management are described in this review.

Keywords: LAT1, Amino acid transporter, Molecular target drug, Amino acid starvation response, Signal transduction

Core tip: The discovery of molecules preferentially expressed in cancer cells is extremely valuable for the development of molecular target drugs in cancer therapy. Amino acid transporters have been receiving a great amount of attention as a candidate of such molecular targets. This review summarizes new initiatives for clinical applications of the basic research relative to L-type amino acid transporters, which are commonly expressed in cancers.