Muscarinic receptors and ligands in cancer

Nirish Shah, Sandeep Khurana, Kunrong Cheng, Jean Pierre Raufman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence indi-cates that muscarinic receptors and ligands play key roles in regulating cellular proliferation and cancer progression. Both neuronal and nonneuronal acetylcholine production results in neurocrine, paracrine, and autocrine promotion of cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and other features critical for cancer cell survival and spread. The present review comprises a focused critical analysis of evidence supporting the role of muscarinic receptors and ligands in cancer. Criteria are proposed to validate the biological importance of muscarinic receptor expression, activation, and postreceptor signaling. Likewise, criteria are proposed to validate the role of nonneuronal acetylcholine production in cancer. Dissecting cellular mechanisms necessary for muscarinic receptor activation as well as those needed for acetylcholine production and release will identify multiple novel targets for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C221-C232
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Bile acids
  • Cholinergic
  • Signaling
  • Tumor genesis; nonneuronal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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