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Critical Reviews™ in Oncogenesis
SJR: 0.946 SNIP: 0.503 CiteScore™: 2

ISSN Print: 0893-9675
ISSN Online: 2162-6448

Critical Reviews™ in Oncogenesis

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevOncog.2017025134
pages 313-321

Complex Interplay Between Aging and Cancer: Role of TGF-β Signaling

Panagiotis Papageorgis
Department of Life Sciences, European University Cyprus, 6 Diogenes Street, Engomi, 1516, Nicosia, Cyprus

ABSTRACT

Although cancer is known to be predominantly a disease of the elderly, it is also thought that aging and cancer may occur either via similar or opposing cellular mechanisms. Studies during the past decades were focused on understanding the molecular events underlying both processes, aiming to ultimately improve the quality of life and lifespan. However, these efforts were traditionally performed or viewed independently without considering the interplay between aging and cancer-promoting mechanisms. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling is essential for embryonic development and physiological tissue homeostasis. Although the fundamental roles of TGF-β in cancer progression have been investigated extensively, recent reports also provide evidence for its direct or indirect links to aging-related processes such as cell proliferation, senescence, stem cell renewal, DNA damage, inflammation, and telomere length. In this review, we present the latest findings regarding the TGF-β-regulated convergent and divergent mechanisms controlling the balance between aging and cancer. Finally, the implications of these processes in developing strategies to prolong the cancer-free human lifespan are discussed.