, 10:323 | Cite as

Relationships between cancer and aging: a multilevel approach

  • Vladimir N. Anisimov
  • Ewa Sikora
  • Graham Pawelec
Review Article


The incidence of cancer increases with age in humans and in laboratory animals alike. There are different patterns of age-related distribution of tumors in different organs and tissues. Aging may increase or decrease the susceptibility of various tissues to initiation of carcinogenesis and usually facilitates promotion and progression of carcinogenesis. Aging may predispose to cancer in two ways: tissue accumulation of cells in late stages of carcinogenesis and alterations in internal homeostasis, in particular, alterations in immune and endocrine systems. Increased susceptibility to the effects of tumor promoters is found both in aged animals and aged humans, as predicted by the multistage model of carcinogenesis. Aging is associated with a number of events at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels that influence carcinogenesis and subsequent cancer growth. An improved understanding of age-associated variables impacting on the tumor microenvironment, as well as the cancer cells themselves, will result in improved treatment modalities in geriatric oncology.


Aging Carcinogenesis 



This paper evolved from discussions initiated at the The European Conference on Cancer and Aging—SeneCa, senescence and cancer—which took place in Warsaw, Poland between 4th and 6th October 2007, supported by the European Commission (contract LSSM-CT-2006-037312). For a summary of the main presentations at the conference, see Pawelec and Solana (2008). VA is supported by grant NS-5054.2006.4 from the President of The Russian Federation. ES was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant N301 008 32/0549).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vladimir N. Anisimov
    • 1
  • Ewa Sikora
    • 2
  • Graham Pawelec
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Carcinogenesis and OncogerontologyN. N. Petrov Research Institute of OncologySt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.NENCKI Institute of Experimental BiologyWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Center for Medical ResearchUniversity of Tübingen Medical SchoolTübingenGermany

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