Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Oct 9;98(21):12072-7. Epub 2001 Oct 2.

Senescent fibroblasts promote epithelial cell growth and tumorigenesis: a link between cancer and aging.

Author information

  • 1Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Mammalian cells can respond to damage or stress by entering a state of arrested growth and altered function termed cellular senescence. Several lines of evidence suggest that the senescence response suppresses tumorigenesis. Cellular senescence is also thought to contribute to aging, but the mechanism is not well understood. We show that senescent human fibroblasts stimulate premalignant and malignant, but not normal, epithelial cells to proliferate in culture and form tumors in mice. In culture, the growth stimulation was evident when senescent cells comprised only 10% of the fibroblast population and was equally robust whether senescence was induced by replicative exhaustion, oncogenic RAS, p14(ARF), or hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, it was due at least in part to soluble and insoluble factors secreted by senescent cells. In mice, senescent, much more than presenescent, fibroblasts caused premalignant and malignant epithelial cells to form tumors. Our findings suggest that, although cellular senescence suppresses tumorigenesis early in life, it may promote cancer in aged organisms, suggesting it is an example of evolutionary antagonistic pleiotropy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk