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J Clin Med. 2019 Nov 15;8(11). pii: E1983. doi: 10.3390/jcm8111983.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Aging and Cancer.

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Institute of Biomembranes, Bioenergetics and Molecular Biotechnologies, National Research Council, 70126 Bari, Italy.


Aging is a major risk factor for developing cancer, suggesting that these two events may represent two sides of the same coin. It is becoming clear that some mechanisms involved in the aging process are shared with tumorigenesis, through convergent or divergent pathways. Increasing evidence supports a role for mitochondrial dysfunction in promoting aging and in supporting tumorigenesis and cancer progression to a metastatic phenotype. Here, a summary of the current knowledge of three aspects of mitochondrial biology that link mitochondria to aging and cancer is presented. In particular, the focus is on mutations and changes in content of the mitochondrial genome, activation of mitochondria-to-nucleus signaling and the newly discovered mitochondria-telomere communication.


aging; cancer; mitochondria-to-nucleus signaling; mitochondrial DNA

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