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Abstract

A literature review was conducted on the genetic and developmental bases of autism in relation to genes and pathways associated with cancer risk. Convergent lines of evidence from four types of analysis: (1) recent theoretical studies on the causes of autism, (2) epidemiological studies, (3) genetic analyses linking autism with mutations in tumor suppressor genes and other cancer-associated genes and pathways, and (4) contrasts with schizophrenia, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease indicate that autism may involve altered cancer risk. This evidence should motivate further epidemiological studies, and it provides useful insights into the nature of the genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors underlying the etiologies of autism, other neurological conditions, and carcinogenesis. Autism Res2011,4:302–310. © 2011 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.