The achilles' heel of cancer survivors: Fundamentals of accelerated cellular senescence

Document Type

Review Article


Medical College Pakistan


Recent improvements in cancer treatment have increased the lifespan of pediatric and adult cancer survivors. However, cancer treatments accelerate aging in survivors, which manifests clinically as the premature onset of chronic diseases, such as endocrinopathies, osteoporosis, cardiac dysfunction, subsequent cancers, and geriatric syndromes of frailty, among others. Therefore, cancer treatment-induced early aging accounts for significant morbidity, mortality, and health expenditures among cancer survivors. One major mechanism driving this accelerated aging is cellular senescence; cancer treatments induce cellular senescence in tumor cells and in normal, nontumor tissue, thereby helping mediate the onset of several chronic diseases. Studies on clinical monitoring and therapeutic targeting of cellular senescence have made considerable progress in recent years. Large-scale clinical trials are currently evaluating senotherapeutic drugs, which inhibit or eliminate senescent cells to ameliorate cancer treatment-related aging. In this article, we survey the recent literature on phenotypes and mechanisms of aging in cancer survivors and provide an up-to-date review of the major preclinical and translational evidence on cellular senescence as a mechanism of accelerated aging in cancer survivors, as well as insight into the potential of senotherapeutic drugs. However, only with time will the clinical effect of senotherapies on cancer survivors be visible.


Pagination are not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The Journal of Clinical Investigation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.