Research Suggests Link Between Accelerated Aging and Early-Onset Cancers

April 10, 2024
Those born after 1965 had a higher likelihood of increased biological age, which led to higher likelihoods of certain early-onset cancers

New research suggests that accelerated aging, which is more common in recent birth cohorts, was associated with increased incidence of early-onset cancers.

Ruiyi Tian, MPH, a graduate student in the lab of Yin Cao, ScD, MPH, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, “hypothesized that increased biological age, indicative of accelerated aging, may contribute to the development of early-onset cancers, often defined as cancers diagnosed in adults younger than 55 years.” Biological age “refers to the condition of a person’s body and physiological processes and is considered modifiable.”

According to Tian, “biological age may be influenced by factors such as diet, physical activity, mental health, and environmental stressors.” Plus, evidence increasingly suggests that “the younger generations may be aging more swiftly than anticipated, likely due to earlier exposure to various risk factors and environmental insults.”

Tian and her colleagues examined the data of 148,724 individuals within the U.K. Biobank database, calculating each participant’s biological age using “nine biomarkers found in blood,” which include “albumin, alkaline phosphatase, [and] creatinine.”

First, Tian and colleagues determined that “individuals born in or after 1965 had a 17% higher likelihood of accelerated aging than those born between 1950 and 1954.” They then found that “each standard deviation increase in accelerated aging was associated with a 42% increased risk of early-onset lung cancer, a 22% increased risk of early-onset gastrointestinal cancer, and a 36% increased risk of early-onset uterine cancer.”

Next steps for this research will involve uncovering the “mechanisms driving accelerated aging and early-onset cancers to develop precision cancer prevention strategies.”

AACR’s website has the news release.