Calcium (Ca(2+)) and magnesium (Mg(2+)) are important metal elements that regulate a variety of cellular processes such as proliferation, migration, and apoptosis, in cancer cells. Among the ionic channels mediating intracellular entry, the transient receptor potential melastatin type 7 (TRPM7) channel is of particular interest, it being a non-selective, cationic channel mediating both Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) influx. TRPM7 is highly expressed in a number of human cancer tissues and cell lines. In this review, we summarise current knowledge on the physiological role of the dual function TRPM7 chanzyme, the potential application of TRPM7 as a diagnostic and prognostic marker of cancer progression with respect to clinical and pathological characteristics, and the molecular mechanisms implicated in cancerogenesis that specifically involve Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) influx through TRPM7 or kinase activity and interaction with cytoskeletal proteins.
Keywords: TRPM7; channel activity; kinase function; migration; proliferation.