How ageing processes influence cancer

Abstract

The ageing of populations worldwide is leading to an unprecedented increase in cancer cases and fatalities. Understanding the links between cancer and ageing is therefore more important than ever. How the interplay of ageing-associated changes affects cancer initiation and progression is complex, however, and some ageing processes probably foster cancer development whereas others hinder it, possibly in a tissue-specific manner. In the emerging age of cancer, how can our growing understanding of the biology of ageing inform cancer biology?

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Figure 1: The incidence of cancer diagnosis as a function of age.
Figure 2: Major longevity pathways with overlapping effects on ageing and cancer.
Figure 3: Cancer survival as a function of age.
Figure 4: The interplay between ageing processes and cancer.

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Acknowledgements

I thank everyone at the Lifestyle and Ageing Multidisciplinary Conference in Pisa, Italy, October 2010, for discussions that spurred this work and all participants at the European Science Foundation (ESF) Exploratory Workshop on Physics of Cancer in Varenna, Italy, September 2012, for fruitful discussions on these topics. Further thanks to J. Costa and to members of my laboratory, in particular S. Wood, D. Wuttke and R. Tacutu, for useful comments and suggestions. I am also grateful for support from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society, the Ellison Medical Foundation and from a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant within EC-FP7 for supporting the work in my laboratory. I apologize to those whose work I could not cite owing to space limitations.

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de Magalhães, J. How ageing processes influence cancer. Nat Rev Cancer 13, 357–365 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc3497

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