Senescence: Cells, ageing and cancer

Credit: L. Trotman/Z. Chen

In this focus:

Current research | Archive

Is growing old a good thing? As cells mature they naturally stop dividing and enter a period called senescence. But cellular senescence can also be induced prematurely by certain oncogenes involved in cancer development. Four papers in Nature show that, as previously suggested by in vitro studies, oncogene-induced cellular senescence represents a safety mechanism to suppress tumour progression in vivo.

Cellular senescence also plays a key role in ageing. In this web focus, Nature brings together articles on senescence and cancer with key publications in ageing research, including primary research papers, News & Views and a review article.


Current research


Oncogene-induced senescence as an initial barrier in lymphoma development

Braig M. et al.

Nature 436, 660-665 (4 Aug 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03841


BRAFE600-associated senescence-like cell cycle arrest of human naevi

Michaloglou C. et al.

Nature 436, 720-724 (4 Aug 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03890

Crucial role of p53-dependent cellular senescence in suppression of Pten-deficient tumorigenesis

Chen Z. et al.

Nature 436, 725-730 (4 Aug 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03918


Tumour biology: Senescence in premalignant tumours

Collado M. et al.

Nature 436, 642-642 (4 Aug 2005) doi:10.1038/nature436642a


Cancer: Crime and punishment

Cellular senescence stops the growth of cells. This process, first glimpsed in cell culture, is now confirmed by in vivo evidence as a vital mechanism that constrains the malignant progression of many tumours.

Sharpless N. & DePinho R.

Nature 436, 636-637 (4 Aug 2005) doi:10.1038/nature436636a


Accelerated ageing in mice deficient in Zmpste24 protease is linked to p53 signalling activation

Varela I. et al.




Nutrient control of glucose homeostasis through a complex of PGC-1α and SIRT1

Rodgers J. et al.

Nature 434, 113-118 (3 Mar 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03354

Rejuvenation of aged progenitor cells by exposure to a young systemic environment

Conboy I. et al.

Nature 433, 760-764 (17 Feb 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03260

Regulation of cellular response to oncogenic and oxidative stress by Seladin-1

Wu C. et al.

Nature 432, 640-645 (2 Dec 2004) doi:10.1038/nature03173

Sirtuin activators mimic caloric restriction and delay ageing in metazoans

Wood J. et al.

Nature 430, 686-689 (5 Aug 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02789

Gene regulation and DNA damage in the ageing human brain

Lu T. et al.

Nature 429, 883-891 (24 Jun 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02661

Sirt1 promotes fat mobilization in white adipocytes by repressing PPAR-γ

Picard F. et al.

Nature 429, 771-776 (17 Jun 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02583

Drosophila dFOXO controls lifespan and regulates insulin signalling in brain and fat body

Hwangbo D.S. et al.

Nature 429, 562-566 (3 Jun 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02549

Premature ageing in mice expressing defective mitochondrial DNA polymerase

Trifunovic A. et al.

Nature 429, 417-423 (27 May 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02517


Ageing: Mice and mitochondria

It can be hard to work out whether particular events are a cause or a correlate of ageing — do mutations in mitochondrial DNA, for instance, speed up the process of growing old? Some clever studies suggest so.

Martin G. & Loeb L.

Nature 429, 357-359 (27 May 2004) doi:10.1038/nature429357a


Ageing and the mystery at Arles

What determines how long we will live? Studies of simple organisms, single cells and mammals hint that certain shared principles underlie ageing, and raise the possibility of devising ways to extend life — if we want to.

Nemoto S. & Finkel T.

Nature 429, 149-152 (13 May 2004) doi:10.1038/nature429149a


Intrinsic tumour suppression

Lowe S., Cepero E. & Evan G.

Nature 432, 307-315 (18 Nov 2004) doi:10.1038/nature03098