Aging, inflammation and cancer

Semin Immunol. 2018 Dec;40:74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2018.10.011. Epub 2018 Nov 6.


Aging is a key aspect of neoplasia at the level of cells, individuals and populations. Unrestrained expression and production of inflammatory mediators is a key feature of aging at the cellular and organism level. Inflammatory cells and mediators are a key component of the tumor microenvironment and drive tumor progression. Non-resolving smoldering inflammation increases the risk of cancer (the extrinsic pathway connecting inflammation and cancer). In the intrinsic pathway, genetic events that cause neoplasia (oncogenes and oncosupressor genes) orchestrate the construction of cancer-related inflammation. We argue that uncontrolled smoldering inflammation drives carcinogenesis in aging and acts as a common denominator linking aging and cancer.

Keywords: Cancer; Immunosenescence; Inflammaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Humans
  • Inflammation*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Oncogenes / genetics
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins