According to a new study, a gene that puts people on road to schizophrenia may provide protection against some forms of cancer.
As per scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the MET proto-oncogene is activated in a variety of tumor malignancies. The gene has recently also been linked to autism and has a role in neurodevelopment, which is why Katherine E. Burdick, PhD and her colleagues decided to look for a relationship between MET and schizophrenia in their large sample of patients.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
To reach the conclusion, Dr. Burdick and colleagues examined the relationship between 21 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MET and schizophrenia in 173 patients and 137 normal volunteers.
They found that several varieties of MET influenced the risk for schizophrenia, as well as general cognitive ability. The authors were able to replicate their findings in a second sample of 107 patients and 112 healthy volunteers.
"The results add to the growing evidence suggesting an intriguing relationship between cancer-related genes and schizophrenia susceptibility," the scientists wrote.
It remains unclear exactly how the gene actually may increase the risk for schizophrenia while protecting against some forms of cancer.