Magnesium and neoplasia: from carcinogenesis to tumor growth and progression or treatment.
ABSTRACT Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biochemical reactions that are crucial to cell proliferation, differentiation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis. Changes in magnesium availability have been shown to influence biological responses of immuno-inflammatory cells. Equally plausible seems to be an involvement of magnesium in the multistep and interconnected processes that lead to tumor formation and development; however, the "how" and "when" of such an involvement remain to be defined. Here, we reviewed in vitro and in vivo data that indicated a role for magnesium in many biological and clinical aspects of cancer (from neoplastic transformation to tumor growth and progression or pharmacologic treatment). In adopting this approach we went through a full circle from molecular aspects to observational or epidemiological studies that could reconcile in a unifying picture the otherwise fragmentary or puzzling data currently available on the role of magnesium in cancer.