Advances in Alzheimer's Research

Volume: 2

Common Biological Mechanisms in Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer

Author(s): Maria I. Behrens, Daniela P. Ponce, Catherine M. Roe and Felipe Salech

Pp: 33-57 (25)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608058525114020004


Epidemiological studies show an inverse association between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cancer, such that the risk of developing cancer is significantly lower in patients with AD, while participants with a history of cancer in the past have a lower risk of developing AD. In cancer, cell regulation mechanisms are disrupted with augmentation of cell survival and/or proliferation, whereas conversely, AD is associated with increased neuronal death. Here we discuss the possibility that perturbations of mechanisms involved in cell survival/death regulation could be involved in both disorders. Mechanisms that induce changes in the activity of molecules with key roles in determining the decision to “repair and live”- or “die” could play a role in the pathogenesis of the two disorders. As examples, the roles of p53, PARP-1, the Wnt signaling pathway, and the process of adult neurogenesis are discussed as potential candidates that, speculatively, may explain an inverse association between AD and cancer.

Keywords: Alzheimer, cancer, neurogenesis, p53, PARP-1, Wnt signaling pathway.

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