The effect of aging on the growth of colon cancer

J. Patrick Walker, Courtney M. Townsend, Pomila Singh, Elena James, James C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Reports on the effect of patient age on the prognosis for colon cancer vary. We have tested the effect of aging using a model of murine colon adenocarcinoma in groups of mice of different ages. In experiment A, Balb/c mice of age groups 3-4 weeks, 10-12 weeks, 24-32 weeks and 40-48 weeks (13 mice/group) were injected with 5 × 104MC-26 cells subcutaneously in the right flank. Tumors were measured twice weekly, and the rate of occurrence of tumor, mortality rate, and growth rate were calculated. In experiment B, the same plan as experiment A was used, except mice of age groups I (14 days), II (3-4 weeks), and III (20-22 months) were used with tumor doses of 1 × 104 cells and 5 × 105 cells (9-15 mice/group). In both experiments, the rate of growth of tumor, mortality rate, and sizes of tumors obtained were the same. In experiment A, the rate of occurrence of the tumors was the same in all groups, but in experiment B the occurrence of the tumor varied. A palpable tumor appeared earliest in the weanling mice (14 days), next in old mice (20-22 months), and last in the young adult group (3-4 weeks). Tumor doubling time was longest in the young adult mice (7 days), intermediate in the old mice (6.1 days), and shortest in the weanling mice (5.5 days). Established tumors grew at similar rates (as assessed by doubling time), independent of host age. Mortality rates were similar. Subtle changes in doubling time and rate of occurrence of tumor are apparent only during the "low" dose of tumor (1 × 104) cells, which suggests a host-immune response that is able to cope with a relatively small burden of tumor cells. Any immune system can be overwhelmed. The use of low doses of cell inoculum allows differentiation of small, but important age-related differences of colon cancer growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986


  • Aging
  • Balb/c mice
  • Colon cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology


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