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Alzheimer's Tau Protein Raises Risk Of Cancer Too: Study

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the presence of neurofibrillary tangles inside neurons - i.e., the cells that make up the brain and the nervous system. The neurofibrillary tangles are composed of mutated Tau protein. So Tau is an attractive target for developing a new Alzheimer's therapy.

Now, a team of Italian investigators at the IRCCS Foundation Carlo Besta Neurological Institute in Milan has found that mutation in Tau also increases the risk for cancer.

The finding was based on a retrospective cohort study comparing cancer incidence in families affected by genetic tauopathies to control families.

The Tau protein plays a role in maintaining genome stability and chromosome integrity. Furthermore, earlier studies have established the fact that patients carrying a mutation in Tau gene consistently had several chromosome aberrations and chromatin anomalies. And as you may know, *chromosomal aberrations are a validated marker of cancer susceptibility. (*Source: International Journal of Molecular Medicine).

Patients carrying Tau mutations are usually checked for neurodegeneration. Now that a novel role of Tau as a risk factor for cancer has been identified, these patients could also be monitored for their risk of developing cancer, says Fabrizio Tagliavini, one of the investigators involved in the research.

The study is published in Cancer Research, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

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