Inflammation, ageing and cancer.

Sonya Vasto, Giuseppina Candore, Domenico Lio, Calogero Caruso, Sonya Vasto, Giuseppe Carruba, Danilo Di Bona, Calogero Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is generally recognized as an age-related disease. In fact, incidence and mortality rates of mosthuman cancers increase consistently with age up to 90 years, but they plateau and decline thereafter. Alow-grade systemic inflammation characterizes ageing and this pro-inflammatory status underliesbiological mechanisms responsible for age-related inflammatory diseases. On the other hand, clinical andepidemiological studies show a strong association between chronic infection, inflammation and cancerand indicate that even in tumours not directly linked to pathogens, the microenvironment ischaracterized by the presence of a smouldering inflammation, fuelled primarily by stromal leukocytes. Inthis review, we have briefly mentioned inflammatorymediators involved in cancer although we decidedto choose the ones which show a strict association with ageing and longevity. Inflammation is necessaryto manage with damaging agents and is crucial for survival. But, in our opinion, the pro-inflammatorystatus of ageing might be one of the mechanisms which relate cancer to ageing. The most appropriateinflammatory genes have been selected to survive and to reproduce. Paradoxically, inflammatory agerelateddiseases (including cancer) are the marks of the same evolutionistic trait. Centenarians arecharacterized by a higher frequency of genetic markers associated with better control of inflammation.The reduced capacity of centenarians to mount inflammatory responses appears to exert a protectiveeffect towards the development of those age-related pathologies having a strong inflammatorypathogenetic component, including cancer. All in all, centenarians seem to carry a genetic backgroundwith a peculiar resistance to cancer which is also an anti-inflammatory profile
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Inflammation, ageing and cancer.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this