Inflammaging and Cancer: A challenge for the mediterranean diet

Rita Ostan, Catia Lanzarini, Elisa Pini, Maria Scurti, Dario Vianello, Claudia Bertarelli, Cristina Fabbri, Massimo Izzi, Giustina Palmas, Fiammetta Biondi, Morena Martucci, Elena Bellavista, Stefano Salvioli, Miriam Capri, Claudio Franceschi, Aurelia Santoro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging is considered the major risk factor for cancer, one of the most important mortality causes in the western world. Inflammaging, a state of chronic, low-level systemic inflammation, is a pervasive feature of human aging. Chronic inflammation increases cancer risk and affects all cancer stages, triggering the initial genetic mutation or epigenetic mechanism, promoting cancer initiation, progression and metastatic diffusion. Thus, inflammaging is a strong candidate to connect age and cancer. A corollary of this hypothesis is that interventions aiming to decrease inflammaging should protect against cancer, as well as most/all age-related diseases. Epidemiological data are concordant in suggesting that the Mediterranean Diet (MD) decreases the risk of a variety of cancers but the underpinning mechanism(s) is (are) still unclear. Here we review data indicating that the MD (as a whole diet or single bioactive nutrients typical of the MD) modulates multiple interconnected processes involved in carcinogenesis and inflammatory response such as free radical production, NF-?B activation and expression of inflammatory mediators, and the eicosanoids pathway. Particular attention is devoted to the capability of MD to affect the balance between pro- and anti-inflammaging as well as to emerging topics such as maintenance of gut microbiota (GM) homeostasis and epigenetic modulation of oncogenesis through specific microRNAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2589-2621
Number of pages33
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 9 2015


  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Inflammaging
  • Inflammation
  • Mediterranean diet
  • MicroRNAs
  • NU-AGE project
  • Nutrients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Inflammaging and Cancer: A challenge for the mediterranean diet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this