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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Context-dependent effects of cellular senescence in cancer development.

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Cellular senescence is an established tumour-suppressive mechanism that prevents the proliferation of premalignant cells. However, several lines of evidence show that senescent cells, which often persist in vivo, can also promote tumour progression in addition to other age-related pathologies via the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Moreover, new insights suggest the SASP can facilitate tissue repair. Here, we review the beneficial and detrimental roles of senescent cells, highlighting conditions under which the senescence response does and does not promote pathology, particularly cancer. By better understanding the context-dependent effects of cellular senescence, it may be feasible to limit its detrimental properties while preserving its beneficial effects, and develop novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat cancer and possibly other age-associated diseases.

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