Tuesday January 28, 2020

Human Ageing Processes May Hinder Cancer Development, Study Suggests

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found that the human ageing processes may hinder cancer development

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human, ageing, development, cancer, study
The researchers found that in most of the tissues examined, ageing and cancer gene expression 'surprisingly' changed in the opposite direction. Pixabay

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found that the human ageing processes may hinder cancer development.

Ageing is one of the biggest risk factors for cancer. However, the biological mechanisms behind this link are still unclear, the study said in a paper published in the journal Aging Cell.

In an effort to better understand the biological mechanisms researchers compared how genes differentially expressed with age and genes differentially expressed in cancer among nine human tissues.

Normally, a healthy cell can divide in a controlled manner. In contrast, senescent or ‘sleeping’ cells have lost their ability to divide.

As we age, the number of senescent cells in our bodies increase, which then drive many age-related processes and diseases.

“Our results highlight the complex relationship between ageing, cancer and cellular senescence and suggest that in most human tissues ageing processes and senescence act in tandem while being detrimental to cancer,” said study researcher Joao Pedro De Magalhaes from the University.

Genetic mutations triggered by things such as UV exposure can sometimes cause cells to replicate uncontrollably — and uncontrolled cell growth is cancer.

Cells are often able to detect these mutations and in response go to sleep to stop them dividing.

The researchers found that in most of the tissues examined, ageing and cancer gene expression ‘surprisingly’ changed in the opposite direction.

These overlapping gene sets were related to several processes, mainly cell cycle and the immune system.

human, ageing, development, cancer, study
As we age, the number of senescent cells in our bodies increase, which then drive many age-related processes and diseases. Pixabay

Moreover, cellular senescence changed in the same direction as ageing and in the opposite direction of cancer signatures.

The researchers believe the changes in ageing and cellular senescence might relate to a decrease in cell proliferation, while cancer changes shift towards an increase in cell division.

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“One of the reasons our bodies have evolved to have senescent cells is to suppress cancers. But then it seems that senescent cells accumulate in aged human tissues and may contribute to ageing and degeneration,” De Magalhaes said.

“Our work challenges the traditional view concerning the relationship between cancer and ageing and suggest that ageing processes may hinder cancer development,” De Magalhaes added. (IANS)

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Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world

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A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying enough at any time. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that Australians are increasingly being diagnosed with potentially harmless cancers, which if left undetected or untreated, may expose them to unnecessary surgeries and chemotherapy.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, drew on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to compare how the lifetime risk of five cancers had changed between 1982 and 2012.

The study shows compared to 30 years ago, Australians are much more likely to experience a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

“Cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, endocrine and chemotherapy carry risks of physical harms,” said the study authors from Bond University, University of Sydney and Griffith University in Australia.

“In the absence of overdiagnosis, these harms are generally considered acceptable. In the context of overdiagnosed cancers, however, affected individuals cannot benefit but can only be harmed by these treatments,” authors added.

The figures suggest that in 2012 24 per cent of cancers or carcinomas in men were overdiagnosed. These included 42 per cent of prostate cancers, 42 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

For women, 18 per cent of cancers or carcinomas were overdiagnosed, including 22 per cent of breast cancers, 58 per cent of renal cancers, 73 per cent of thyroid cancers and 58 per cent of melanomas.

The figures are significant because of the harm that can occur from cancer treatment of patients who would never have had symptoms in their lifetime.

The authors also refer to separate studies showing overdiagnosis could be linked to psychological problems.

“For example, men’s risk of suicide appears to increase in the year after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis,” researchers said.

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According to the researchers, It is the first time that the risk of overdiagnosis has been quantified across five cancers, anywhere in the world.”

The findings also suggest an important role for health services such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in detecting potential overdiagnosis and alerting health policy decision makers to the problem early on. (IANS)