Cholinergic targets in lung cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Lung cancers express an autocrine cholinergic loop in which secreted acetylcholine can stimulate tumor growth through both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. Because activation of mAChR and nAChR stimulates growth; tumor growth can be stimulated by both locally synthesized acetylcholine as well as acetylcholine from distal sources and from nicotine in the high percentage of lung cancer patients who are smokers. The stimulation of lung cancer growth by cholinergic agonists offers many potential new targets for lung cancer therapy. Cholinergic signaling can be targeted at the level of choline transport; acetylcholine synthesis, secretion and degradation; and nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. In addition, the newly describe family of ly-6 allosteric modulators of nicotinic signaling such as lynx1 and lynx2 offers yet another new approach to novel lung cancer therapeutics. Each of these targets has their potential advantages and disadvantages for the development of new lung cancer therapies which are discussed in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2152-2159
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Acetylcholine
  • Cancer
  • Lynx-1
  • Muscarinic receptors
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotinic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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