Longevity varies greatly among mammals. The naked mole rat is among the longest-lived rodents, having an average lifespan of 32 years, compared to the similarly-sized house mouse with lifespan of 4 years. The rate of cancer also varies widely among mammals and interestingly, the naked mole rat is essentially cancer-free (Gorbunova et al., Nat Rev Genet 15(531):540, 2014). A series of elegant studies (Tian et al. Nature 499:346–349, 2013) has revealed that this cancer resistance derives from the abundant production of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid. Remarkably, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, which accumulates within the extracellular matrix, stimulates an intracellular pathway that induces expression of p16ink4a and suppresses oncogenic transformation.