This article describes how understanding mechanisms used by cancer cells–both prosurvival (oncogenic) and pro-apoptotic (tumour suppression)–sheds light on important 'cues' for prosurvival and apoptotic pathways employed in the cardiac and vascular system. Commencing with the mevalonate pathway, numerous examples are presented whereby cancer oftentimes foretells an understanding of relevant mechanisms for cardiology. Pathologies such as cardiomyopathies including heart failure, hypertension/vascular dysfunction, and reaction to ischaemic-reperfusion injury are discussed. Key features emerge in terms of homeostasis within the cardiac and vascular system and the observation that cardiac pathologies do not present in mere isolation but as co-morbidities. Mechanisms resulting in such pathologies are revealed by considering prosurvival versus pro-apoptotic imbalance (homeostatic disturbance). Overall, one may gain an improved foreknowledge of such mechanisms behind these important regulatory paths in cardiology from studying cancer molecular mechanisms.
Keywords: Apoptosis, atheroma, cancer, cardiomyopathy, cardioprotection, farnesol, heart failure, hypertension, mevalonate pathway, oncogene, prosurvival factor, tumour suppressor, vascular disease