Individuals born after 1965 have a 17% higher risk of developing accelerated aging compared to those born from 1950–1954, researchers reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2024. They demonstrated an association between accelerated aging and an increased risk for several types of early-onset solid tumors.

diagnoses have increased by 79.1% and early-onset cancer deaths by 27.7% from 1990–2019. The researchers hypothesized that accelerated aging, in which “biological age surpasses chronological age,” may be a contributor.

Using a prospective cohort of 148,724 participants aged 37–54 from the UK Biobank, they investigated the associations between accelerated aging and risk of early-onset solid cancers diagnosed before age 55. They determined participants’ biological age using an algorithm based on nine blood chemistry markers: albumin, alkaline phosphatase, creatinine, C-reactive protein, glucose, mean corpuscular volume, red cell distribution width, white blood cell count, and lymphocyte proportion. 

Among the study population, the researchers identified 3,190 early-onset solid cancer cases. Individuals with the highest degree of accelerated aging had 2.02 times the risk for early-onset lung cancer, 1.62 times the risk for gastrointestinal cancer, and 1.83 times the risk for uterine cancer.

“Accelerated aging is much more common in recent birth cohorts and accelerated aging may emerge as a risk factor for early-onset solid cancers, especially for lung, gastrointestinal, and uterine cancers,” the researchers concluded.

They said that validation and mechanistic studies involving diverse populations are needed to further evaluate the link between accelerated aging and early-onset cancers and to provide evidence to guide prevention and treatment strategies.

Studies have shown that many of the risk factors for accelerated aging are modifiable, such as by optimizing:

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