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Cancer and ageing: convergent and divergent mechanisms

Abstract

Cancer and ageing are both fuelled by the accumulation of cellular damage. Consequently, those mechanisms that protect cells from damage simultaneously provide protection against cancer and ageing. By contrast, cancer and longevity require a durable cell proliferation potential and, therefore, those mechanisms that limit indefinite proliferation provide cancer protection but favour ageing. The overall balance between these convergent and divergent mechanisms guarantees fitness and a cancer-free life until late adulthood for most individuals.

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Figure 1: Convergent mechanisms of cancer and ageing.
Figure 2: Divergent mechanisms of cancer and ageing.
Figure 3: Balance between convergent and divergent mechanisms of cancer and ageing.

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Acknowledgements

Research at the laboratories of M.S. and M.A.B. is funded by the CNIO, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, the European Union (projects PROTEOMAGE and INTACT to M.S. and INTACT, TELOSENS, ZINCAGE, RISC-RAD and MOL CANCER MED to M.A.B.), and the Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award 2003 to M.A.B.

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Serrano, M., Blasco, M. Cancer and ageing: convergent and divergent mechanisms. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 8, 715–722 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm2242

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