Cancer and aging

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Submission deadline

The risk of developing cancer increases dramatically with age. Incidence rates roughly double from the age of 50 to 60, and again from the age of 60 to 80. After the age of 65, the approximate median age of diagnosis, around 40% of all individuals will be diagnosed with a new cancer. As the global population ages, the cancer burden is rising accordingly. At a mechanistic level, notable drivers of aging also play important roles in tumorigenesis, implicating cancer as an age-related disease. These drivers include cellular senescence, chronic inflammation, DNA damage accumulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, disrupted protein homeostasis, epigenetic modifications, and altered energy metabolism, among others. Conversely, cancer can itself accelerate the aging process, both through increased psychosocial stress and side effects of treatments. For example, radiation therapy can damage DNA, chemotherapy can induce harmful transcriptomic changes, and both chemo- and immunotherapy can trigger senescence in non-malignant cells, potentially creating a vicious cycle. Many patients with cancer also experience loss of appetite, leading to malnutrition that exacerbates these pro-aging effects. Despite the tight epidemiological and molecular links between cancer and aging, older adults are underrepresented in clinical trials, and most cancer drugs are preclinically validated in young mice.

This cross-journal Collection invites original research that explicitly explores the role of aging in cancer and vice versa, from the bench to the bedside. All participating journals except Scientific Reports also welcome Reviews, Perspectives, and Comments. Nature Aging issued an earlier call for preclinical and clinical submissions at the intersection of aging and cancer, topics that are also of interest to Nature Communications. Communications Biology particularly encourages submissions concerning the mechanisms underlying the interplay between cancer and aging. Communications Medicine encourages submission of clinical, translational, epidemiological, and public health research.

Authors should refer to the aims and scope of Nature Aging, Nature Communications, Communications Biology, Communications Medicine, npj Aging, and Scientific Reports to determine the most appropriate journal for their manuscript. All participating journals welcome presubmission enquiries.

To submit, see the participating journals
A group of 3D cancer cells emerging