. Cancer linked to Alzheimer disease but not vascular dementia. Neurology. 2010 Jan 12;74(2):106-12. PubMed.

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  1. Comment by Hyoung-gon Lee, Xiongwei Zhu, Xinglong Wang, Rudy J. Castellani, George Perry, and Mark A. Smith

    Cancer, Alzheimer Disease, and Cardiovascular Disease: Associations and Disassociations—Clues to Etiology?
    There are numerous pathological similarities between cancer and Alzheimer disease (AD), including, but not limited to, loss of cell cycle control (McShea et al., 1997), DNA instability/replication (Bajic et al., 2008; Spremo-Potparevic et al., 2008; Zhu et al., 2008; Bajic et al., 2009), abnormal proliferative signal transduction pathways (McShea et al., 1999; Perry et al., 1999), and avoidance of apoptosis (Raina et al., 2001; Zhu et al., 2006). Additionally, it is notable that numerous features of AD follow the oncogenic stimulation of neurons either in vitro (McShea et al., 2007) or in vivo (Lee et al., 2009a). Given such striking similarities, it is perhaps surprising that AD is associated with a reduced risk of cancer and, likewise, that cancer was associated with a reduced risk of AD (Roe et al., 2010). However, since it is clear that the etiologies of both AD and cancer are likely multifactorial and involve a series of “hits” (Zhu et al., 2001; Zhu et al., 2004; Zhu et al., 2007), one possible explanation is that the risk factors predisposing to cancer are protective against AD and, conversely, that the risk factors for AD are protective against cancer. In this regard, it is worth noting that the etiopathogenesis of cancer involves stem cells and perhaps other somatic cell types that have proliferative potential, whereas AD affects neurons that are terminally differentiated. Supporting such an association, cardiomyopathy and heart disease are associated with an increased risk of AD and are conditions associated with another terminally differentiated cell, the cardiomyocyte (Lee et al., 2009b). Obviously, such associations and disassociations might provide clues to etiology.

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