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Cancers (Basel). 2015 Jul 31;7(3):1447-71. doi: 10.3390/cancers7030845.

The Role of nAChR and Calcium Signaling in Pancreatic Cancer Initiation and Progression.

Author information

1
Department of Tumor Biology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. courtney.schaal@moffitt.org.
2
Department of Molecular Medicine and USF Health Byrd Alzheimer\\\'s Institute, University of South Florida, 4001 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, FL 33612, USA. Jpadmana@health.usf.edu.
3
Department of Tumor Biology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. Srikumar.Chellappan@moffitt.org.

Abstract

Pancreatic cancer shows a strong correlation with smoking and the current therapeutic strategies have been relatively ineffective in improving the survival of patients. Efforts have been made over the past many years to understand the molecular events that drive the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer, especially in the context of smoking. It has become clear that components of tobacco smoke not only initiate these cancers, especially pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) through their mutagenic properties, but can also promote the growth and metastasis of these tumors by stimulating cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Studies in cell culture systems, animal models and human samples have shown that nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) activation enhances these tumor-promoting events by channeling signaling through multiple pathways. In this context, signaling through calcium channels appear to facilitate pancreatic cancer growth by itself or downstream of nAChRs. This review article highlights the role of nAChR downstream signaling events and calcium signaling in the growth, metastasis as well as drug resistance of pancreatic cancer.

KEYWORDS:

beta-adrenergic receptors; calcium channels; epithelial mesenchymal transition; metastasis; nicotine; tobacco carcinogens

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