Research Discovers That Survivors of Pediatric Cancer Are Prone to Premature Aging

December 2, 2022 11:58:13

Every year, an estimated 400 children and adolescents aged 19 and under are diagnosed with cancer. Leukemia, brain tumors, solid tumors such as neuroblastomas and lymphomas tend to be the most common types of pediatric cancer, with more than 80% of patients in high-income nations such as the United States receiving treatment.

Even though pediatric cancer treatment can be quite cost intensive, childhood cancer can generally be cured via surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and generic medicines. However, a recent study has revealed that patients who survive pediatric cancer aren’t completely out of the woods even after they are in remission.

The study, whose findings were reported in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute,” found that young adults who survived pediatric cancer are much more likely to experience premature aging. The researchers discovered that a 30-year-old survivor of pediatric cancer had a significantly increased accumulation of age-related issues compared to agemates who did not have childhood cancer. In fact, the accumulation of aging-related defects in pediatric cancer survivors at age 30 was similar to the accumulation in a 53-year-old with no history of pediatric cancer.

Researchers used data sourced from 4,000 pediatric cancer patients who had been treated between 1962 and 2012 at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Some 30% of the patients had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 13.5% had central nervous system tumors and 11.6% had Hodgkin lymphoma.

As a control, the researchers used data from 683 individuals without a history of cancer.

Interestingly, the cancer survivors in the study were more likely to be female, overweight or obese with lower education and employment levels as well as low income. They were also more likely to be older and current smokers.  The researchers came up with a deficit accumulation index (DAI) to determine the amount of age-related deficits that had accumulated in the subjects, with a higher DAI indicating more aging.

After comparing the pediatric cancer survivors with the control group, the researchers found that the survivors had an adjusted mean DAI of 0.16 while the control individuals had a DAI of 0.09.

All types of pediatric cancers were associated with a much higher DAI, with the highest DAI scores coming from survivors who had osteosarcoma, acute myeloid leukemia and CNS cancers.

Furthermore, the study revealed that different cancer treatments had a different impact on premature aging. Abdominal radiation, cranial radiation, platinum chemotherapy, alkylating chemotherapy and neurosurgery were more likely to have higher DAIs compared to other cancer treatments.

Those potential long-term drawbacks of some pediatric cancer treatments have motivated the likes of QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) to invest in developing better treatments for not just pediatric but also adult cancer indications.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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