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Exp Gerontol. 1992 Sep-Dec;27(5-6):551-8.

Explanations for reduced tumor proliferative capacity with age.

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Department of Medicine, Madison VA GRECC, Wisconsin.


Tumors in general occur more frequently in older people, but many of the common tumors appear to be less malignant in older hosts. In this article mechanisms of tumor enhancement are reviewed, and those that are age-sensitive are emphasized. In this regard, our earlier experimental work suggested that age-associated immune change (immune senescence) is most important in explaining reduced tumor growth. We have found that unstimulated spleen cells in culture produce a tumor-enhancing factor (TEF) that enhances B16 murine melanoma cell proliferation. TEF, and others, such as lymphocyte-induced angiogenesis factor (LIA) and various other autocrine growth factors, may stimulate malignant cells in cancer-bearing hosts. An age-associated reduction in those factors could account for the observed reduced tumor growth and spread in hosts of advanced age.

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