Istituto di Patologia Generale, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia “A. Gemelli”, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo F. Vito 1, 00168 Rome, Italy
Magnesium availability affects many cellular functions that are critical for tumour growth and spreading, such as proliferation, metabolism and angiogenesis.
In vivo, magnesium deficiency, and the resulting inflammation, can trigger both anti- and pro-tumour effects. Recent experimental evidence indicates that altered expression of the transient receptor potential melastatin, type 7 (TRPM7) epithelial magnesium channel is a frequent finding in cancer cells and human tumour tissues, and correlates with cell proliferation and/or migration. We review the role of TRPM7 in tumour development, with particular regard to its channelling function mediating both Ca
2+ and Mg
2+ influx, as well as its kinase activity, likely regulating actomyosin contractility. The potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications based on TRPM7 detection and inhibition, are also discussed.