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              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans


Young cancer survivors show genetic signs of accelerated aging

adolescents aging frailty p16ink4a pediatrics cancer survivorship young adults

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#1 Engadin

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 06:05 PM








S O U R C E :   New Atlas


O P E N   A C C E S S   P R I M A L   S O U R C E :   ACS Journals_Cancer  (Accelerated aging among childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors is evidenced by increased expression of p16INK4a and frailty)









On average, young cancer survivors showed increased genetic markers correlating with 25 years of accelerated aging





A striking new study has found young cancer survivors show high expression of a gene known to be an effective marker of aging. The researchers suggest this genetic biomarker could be used to identify cancer survivors most at risk of later-life frailty due to their treatment.

As we age, concentrations of a gene called p16INK4a gradually increase in our cells, making it a potentially useful molecular marker for aging. One of the gene’s roles is to slow cell division and reduce the proliferation of stem cells.
In a new study researchers set out to investigate p16INK4a levels in pediatric and young adult cancer survivors. The hypothesis was that increased p16INK4a levels could be an effective sign of frailty among young cancer survivors.
"Higher expression of p16INK4a in peripheral blood lymphocytes has been described in older adults following chemotherapy, but prior to this study, not in young adult survivors," says Andrew Smitherman, an author on the new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This study is important as we try to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the manifestations of early aging in this population."
The study recruited 60 young cancer survivors with a mean age of 21. Some subjects were only months past initial treatment, while others were years post-therapy. Frailty was measured using the Fried frailty phenotype, a clinical assessment tool evaluating factors such as weakness, slowness, and skeletal muscle mass.
On average, the cancer survivors displayed notably higher levels of p16INK4a, compared to an age-matched healthy control group. Overall, the researchers suggest these increased levels equated to a 25-year age acceleration in p16INK4a levels.
Looking at the frailty assessments the cancer survivors registering the highest degree of frailty also showed the highest levels of p16INK4a expression. In those most frail young cancer survivors, the researchers say their p16INK4a levels corresponded with a 35-year age acceleration. 


Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: adolescents, aging, frailty, p16ink4a, pediatrics, cancer survivorship, young adults

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