Age is the most significant risk factor for cancer development in humans. The somatic mutation theory postulates that the accumulation of genomic mutations over time results in cellular function degradation which plays an important role in understanding aging and cancer development. Specifically, degradation of the mechanisms that underlie somatic maintenance can occur due to decreased immune cell function and genomic responses to DNA damage. Research has shown that this degradation can lead to the accumulation of mutations that can cause cancer in humans. Despite recent advances in our understanding of cancer in non-human species, how this risk factor translates across species is poorly characterized. Here, we analyze a veterinarian cancer dataset of 4,178 animals to investigate if age related cancer prevalence is similar in non-human animals. We intend for this work to be used as a primary step towards understanding the potential overlap and/or uniqueness between human and non-human cancer risk factors. This study can be used to better understand cancer development and how evolutionary processes have shaped somatic maintenance across species.
- Age as a Cancer Risk Factor Across Species