Adenosine is a ubiquitous signaling nucleoside molecule, released from different cells within the body to act on vasculature and immunoescape. The physiological action on the proliferation of tumour cell has been reported by the presence of high concentration of adenosine within the tumour microenvironment, which results in the progression of the tumour, even leading to metastases. The activity of adenosine exclusively depends upon the interaction with four subtypes of heterodimeric G-protein-coupled adenosine receptors (AR), A1, A2A, A2B, and A3-ARs on the cell surface. Research evidence supports that the activation of those receptors via specific agonist or antagonist can modulate the proliferation of tumour cells. The first category of AR, A1 is known to play an antitumour activity via tumour-associated microglial cells to prevent the development of glioblastomas. A2AAR are found in melanoma, lung, and breast cancer cells, where tumour proliferation is stimulated due to inhibition of the immune response via inhibition of natural killer cells cytotoxicity, T cell activity, and tumourspecific CD4+/CD8+ activity. Alternatively, A2BAR helps in the development of tumour upon activation via upregulation of angiogenin factor in the microvascular endothelial cells, inhibition of MAPK and ERK 1/2 phosphorylation activity. Lastly, A3AR is expressed in low levels in normal cells whereas the expression is upregulated in tumour cells, however, agonists to this receptor inhibit tumour proliferation through modulation of Wnt and NF-κB signaling pathways. Several researchers are in search for potential agents to modulate the overexpressed ARs to control cancer. Active components of A2AAR antagonists and A3AR agonists have already entered in Phase-I clinical research to prove their safety in human. This review focused on novel research targets towards the prevention of cancer progression through stimulation of the overexpressed ARs with the hope to protect lives and advance human health.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.