Molecular inhibition of RAS signalling to target ageing and age-related health

Mihails Laskovs, Linda Partridge*, Cathy Slack*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The RAS/MAPK pathway is a highly conserved signalling pathway with a well-established role in cancer. Mutations that hyperactivate this pathway are associated with unregulated cell proliferation. Evidence from a range of model organisms also links RAS/MAPK signalling to ageing. Genetic approaches that reduce RAS/MAPK signalling activity extend lifespan and also improve healthspan, delaying the onset and/or progression of age-related functional decline. Given its role in cancer, therapeutic interventions that target and inhibit this pathway's key components are under intense investigation. The consequent availability of small molecule inhibitors raises the possibility of repurposing these compounds to ameliorate the deleterious effects of ageing. Here, we review evidence that RAS/MAPK signalling inhibitors already in clinical use, such as trametinib, acarbose, statins, metformin and dihydromyricetin, lead to lifespan extension and to improved healthspan in a range of model systems. These findings suggest that the repurposing of small molecule inhibitors of RAS/MAPK signalling might offer opportunities to improve health during ageing, and to delay or prevent the development of age-related disease. However, challenges to this approach, including poor tolerance to treatment in older adults or development of drug resistance, first need to be resolved before successful clinical implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdmm049627
Number of pages14
JournalDisease Models & Mechanisms
Issue number10
Early online date16 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.


  • DMM ras
  • MEK inhibitor
  • RAS pathway
  • Ageing


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