Advances in Alzheimer's Research

Volume: 2

Indexed in: EBSCO, Ulrich's Periodicals Directory

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is currently recognized as an untreatable, progressive, degenerative and terminal disease that is global – afflicting over 36 million people worldwide, with the number ...
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Common Biological Mechanisms in Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer

Pp. 33-57 (25)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608058525114020004

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


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.


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