Atherosclerosis and Cancer; A Resemblance with Far-reaching Implications.
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Archives of medical research, ISSN: 1873-5487, Vol: 48, Issue: 1, Page: 12-26
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Atherosclerosis and cancer are chronic diseases considered two of the main causes of death all over the world. Taking into account that both diseases are multifactorial, they share not only several important molecular pathways but also many ethiological and mechanistical processes from the very early stages of development up to the advanced forms in both pathologies. Factors involved in their progression comprise genetic alterations, inflammatory processes, uncontrolled cell proliferation and oxidative stress, as the most important ones. The fact that external effectors such as an infective process or a chemical insult have been proposed to initiate the transformation of cells in the artery wall and the process of atherogenesis, emphasizes many similarities with the progression of the neoplastic process in cancer. Deregulation of cell proliferation and therefore cell cycle progression, changes in the synthesis of important transcription factors as well as adhesion molecules, an alteration in the control of angiogenesis and the molecular similarities that follow chronic inflammation, are just a few of the processes that become part of the phenomena that closely correlates atherosclerosis and cancer. The aim of the present study is therefore, to provide new evidence as well as to discuss new approaches that might promote the identification of closer molecular ties between these two pathologies that would permit the recognition of atherosclerosis as a pathological process with a very close resemblance to the way a neoplastic process develops, that might eventually lead to novel ways of treatment.