Tumor development through the Mg2+nifying glass

Federica Wolf, Valentina Trapani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The last decades have witnessed a greater appreciation of the importance of magnesium for human health, but the relationship between magnesium and cancer development remains controversial. Here we review the current knowledge on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the manifold effects of magnesium during tumor progression. A complex picture emerges where the positive consequences of low magnesium availability on tumor growth seem to be counterbalanced by negative outcomes in the very early and late stages of tumorigenesis; a concurrent immune-inflammatory response appears to contribute throughout the natural history of a tumor. We also discuss the debated interaction between magnesium status and the response to therapy and the potential application of the TRPM7 magnesium channel as a prognostic marker and a therapeutic target. A deeper understanding of magnesium homeostasis through the interaction of fundamental and clinical researchers is key to develop new strategies of cancer prevention and treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEssential and non-essential metals. Carcinogenesis, prevention and cancer therapeutics
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cancer therapy
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Inflammation
  • Magnesium
  • Metastasis
  • TRPM7
  • Tumor progression


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