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A Human Tissue-Specific Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals that Ageing Hinders Cancer and Boosts Cellular Senescence

By Kasit Chatsirisupachai, Daniel Palmer, Susana Ferreira, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Posted 31 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/595041 (published DOI: 10.1111/acel.13041)

Ageing is the biggest risk factor for cancer, but the mechanisms linking these two processes remain unclear. We compared genes differentially expressed with age and genes differentially expressed in cancer among nine human tissues. In most tissues, ageing and cancer gene expression surprisingly changed in the opposite direction. These overlapping gene sets were related to several processes, mainly cell cycle and the immune system. Moreover, cellular senescence signatures derived from a meta-analysis changed in the same direction as ageing and in the opposite direction of cancer signatures. Therefore, transcriptomic changes in ageing and cellular senescence might relate to a decrease in cell proliferation, while cancer transcriptomic changes shift towards an increase in cell division. Our results highlight the complex relationship between ageing, cancer and cellular senescence and suggest that in most human tissues ageing processes and senescence act in tandem while being detrimental to cancer. Our work challenges the traditional view concerning the relationship between cancer and ageing and suggests that ageing processes may hinder cancer development.

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