(HealthDay News) — Pediatric and young adult cancer survivors, frail versus robust survivors, and newly diagnosed pediatric patients after cancer therapy have increased expression of p16INK4a, corresponding with age acceleration, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in Cancer.

Andrew B. Smitherman, M.D., from the University of North California at Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional cohort study involving 60 young adult cancer survivors and 29 age-matched, cancer-free controls who were assessed for p16INK4a expression and frailty. Before and after cancer therapy, nine newly diagnosed pediatric patients underwent prospective measurements for p16INK4a expression.

The researchers found that compared with controls, survivors had higher expression of p16INK4a, representing a 25-year age acceleration in survivors. Among newly diagnosed patients, there was an increase in p16INK4a expression from matched pretreatment to posttreatment samples. Compared with robust survivors, frail survivors had higher p16INK4a expression, representing a 35-year age acceleration.

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“We report that childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors exhibit evidence of increased cellular senescence and accelerated molecular aging equivalent to more than two decades of advanced chronological age,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text