Opposite dysregulation in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, Orexin matters? 2021


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Cancers | Free Full-Text | Focus on the Complex Interconnection between Cancer, Narcolepsy and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Possible Case of Orexin-Dependent Inverse Comorbidity | HTML (mdpi.com)


Conditions such as Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s diseases (PD) are less prevalent in cancer survivors and, overall, cancer is less prevalent in subjects with these neurodegenerative disorders.

This seems to suggest that a propensity towards one type of disease may decrease the risk of the other.

In addition to epidemiologic data, there is also evidence of a complex biological interconnection, with genes, proteins, and pathways often showing opposite dysregulation in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

In this narrative review, we focus on the possible role played by orexin signaling, which is altered in patients with narcolepsy type 1 and in those with AD and PD, and which has been linked to β-amyloid brain levels and inflammation in mouse models and to cancer in cell lines.

Taken together, these lines of evidence depict a possible case of inverse comorbidity between cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, with a role played by orexins.

These considerations suggest a therapeutic potential of orexin modulation in diverse pathologies such as narcolepsy, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer.