CLL Support Association

Mutations Linked to Blood Cancers Rise With Age, Study Shows

Blood cell mutations linked to the blood cancers leukemia and lymphoma increase as people get older.

Please also read the comment on the bottom of the article:

Cellular iron overload affects DNA, chromosomes and organelles of the cell; creates cancer's genetic chaos. Hundreds of mutations can be found in tumors; cancer is subject to the evolutionary processes laid out by Charles Darwin in his concept of natural selection.

What is that means?

4 Replies

Shazie, I'm not aware of any mainstream support for Vadim Shapoval's comment on cellular iron overload as a cause of blood cancers. It is well accepted that there's an increasing risk of cancers as we age however, and the role of natural selection in clonal evolution that occurs with the progression of CLL and with chemotherapy treatment is also well recognised.

Does that answer your question?



DNA methylation and histone modification... commonly refered to as epigenetics... millions of changes in CLL...


As Chris points out, we all have gazillions of mutations and the research into exactly which mutation is harmful has only just started.

This is the research paper link

Age-related mutations associated with clonal hematopoietic expansion and malignancies


Several genetic alterations characteristic of leukemia and lymphoma have been detected in the blood of individuals without apparent hematological malignancies.

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) provides a unique resource for comprehensive discovery of mutations and genes in blood that may contribute to the clonal expansion of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.

Here, we analyzed blood-derived sequence data from 2,728 individuals from TCGA and discovered 77 blood-specific mutations in cancer-associated genes, the majority being associated with advanced age. Remarkably, 83% of these mutations were from 19 leukemia and/or lymphoma-associated genes, and nine were recurrently mutated……

Our analyses show that the blood cells of more than 2% of individuals (5–6% of people older than 70 years) contain mutations that may represent premalignant events that cause clonal hematopoietic expansion.




I was reading about MBL the other day:

That article claims 5% of adults over 60 have MBL.

From the genetics and immunology MOOCs that I've taken so far, it seems we are constantly mutating, even before birth. If a mutation is not detected by the immune system, it may grow, but be caught later. As we age, there's more and more things that either increase mutation rates, or decrease chances of catching the mutations.

Our life expectancy is generally increasing, despite all the obesity and heart disease. So cancer is what's left.



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