The unexpected contribution of immunosenescence to the leveling off of cancer incidence and mortality in the oldest old

Massimiliano Bonafè, Silvana Valensin, Walter Gianni, Vincenzo Marigliano, Claudio Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this paper the hypothesis that some features of immunosenescence might impact on the levelling off of cancer incidence and mortality in the oldest old will be considered. In fact, the term immunosenescence suggests that a progressive loss of immune system (IS) function occurs with aging. However, the age-related modifications of the IS can be more properly acknowledged as a 'remodeling' characterized by profound structural changes, which modify the functional properties of IS. We suggest that the expansion with age of natural killer cells (NK) and of T cells which progressively acquire phenotypes intermediate between T lymphocytes and NK cells, together with the age-related changes in the production of inflammatory/anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as INFγ and IL-4, might create an environment unfavorable for neoplastic growth in the oldest old. In this perspective, studies on immunosenescence likely provide insights on mechanisms responsible for the individual capacity to escape from the life-threatening consequences of cancer outgrowth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Immunosenescence
  • Natural killer cells
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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